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3 1833 01100 371 

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Committee of publication. 





Pu&Itsijrt! at tfje ffl^arp of tfje ^ppkton JFtmU. 



©ntbersitg press: 
John "Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 




Officers of the Society, elected April 12, 1906 ... vii 

Resident Members viii 

Honorary and Corresponding Members x 

Members Deceased xii 

Preface xiii 

The Bowdoin and Temple Papers (1783-1790) .... 3 

The Bowdoin and Temple Papers (1792-1809) .... 199 

Appendix (1782) . 459 

Index 465 





Elected April 12, 1906. 





JUtcrfchrg Hecretarg. 
EDWARD STANWOOD, Litt.D. ........ Brookline. 

Corresponding Jteetarg. 


SAMUEL A. GREEN, LL.D. . . Boston. 


$$tembers at |Targe of t\t Council. 


ALBERT B. HART, LL.D Cambridge. 

THOMAS L. LIVERMORE, A.M Jamaica Plain. 



Additional Member of the Council. 
CHARLES P. BOWDITCH, A.M Jamaica Plain. 




Hon. Samuel Abbott Green, LL.D. 
Charles Eliot Norton, D.C.L. 

Rev. Edward Everett Hale, D.D. 

Josiah Phillips Quincy, A.M. 

Henry Gardner Denny, A.M. 

Charles Card Smith, A.M. 

Abner Cheney Goodell, A.M. 
Edward Doubleday Harris, Esq. 

Hon. Winslow Warren, LL.B. 
Charles William Eliot, LL.D. 

Charles Francis Adams, LL.D. 

Hon. William Everett, LL.D. 
Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge, LL.D. 

John Torrey Morse, Jr., A.B. 

Gamaliel Bradford, A.B. 

Henry Williamson Haynes, A.M. 

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 

Rev. Henry Fitch Jenks, A.M. 
Rev. Alexander McKenzie, D.D. 

Arthur Lord, A.B. 
Frederick Ward Putnam, A.M. 
James McKellar Bugbee, Esq. 


Hon. John Elliot Sanford, LL.D. 
Edward Channing, Ph.D. 

William Watson Goodwin, D.C.L. 
Rev. Alexander Viets Griswold 
Allen, D.D. 


Solomon Lincoln, A.M. 
Edwin Pliny Seaver, A.M. 


Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D. 
Thornton Kirkland Lothrop, LL.B. 

Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, A.M. 
Abbott Lawrence Lowell, LL.B. 

Hon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, LL.D. 
Henry Pickering Walcott, M.D. 

Hon. Charles Russell Codman, LL.B. 
Barrett Wendell, A.B. 
James Ford Rhodes, LL.D. 



Hon.Edward Francis Johnson, LL.B. 
Rt. Rev. William Lawrence, D.D. 
William Roscoe Thayer, A.M. 

Rev. Morton Dexter, A.M,. . 
Hon. Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, 

Hon. William Wallace Crapo, LL.D. 

Hon. Francis Cabot Lowell, A.B. 
Granville Stanley Hall, LL.D. 
Alexander Agassiz, LL.D. 
Col. Theodore Ayrault Dodge. 

Rev. Leverett Wilson Spring, D.D. 
Col. William Roscoe Livermore. 
Hon. Richard Olney, LL.D. 
Lucien Carr, A.M. 

Rev. George Angier Gordon, D.D. 
John Chipman Gray, LL.D. 
Rev. James De Normandie, D.D. 
Andrew McFarland Davis, A.M. 

Archibald Cary Coolidge, Ph.D. 
John Noble, LL.D. 
Charles Pickering Bowditch, A.M. 
Rev. Edward Henry Hall, D.D. 

James Frothingham Hunnewell, 

Hon. Daniel Henry Chamberlain, 

Melville Madison Bigelow, LL.D. 

Thomas Leonard Livermore, A.M. 
Nathaniel Paine, A.M. 
Charles Gross, Ph.D. 
John Osborne Sumner, A.B. 
Arthur Theodore Lyman, A.M. 
Samuel Lothrop Thorndike, A.M. 


Edward Henry Strobel, LL.D. 
Henry Lee Higginson, LL.D. 
Brooks Adams, A.B. 
Grenville Howland Norcross, LL.B. 
Edward Hooker Gilbert, A.B. 


Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, A.B. 
Charles Knowles Bolton, A.B. 
Samuel Savage Shaw, LL.B. 
Ephraim Emerton, Ph.D. 
W r aldo Lincoln, A.B. 
Frederic Jesup Stimson, LL.B. 
Edward Stanwood, Litt.D. 
Moorfield Storey, A.M. 


Thomas Minns, Esq. 
Roger Bigelow Merriman, Ph.D. 
Charles Henry Dalton, Esq. 
Charles Homer Haskins, Ph.D. 


Hon. John Davis Long, LL.D. 
Don Gleason Hill, A.M. 
Theodore Clarke Smith, Ph.D. 
Henry Greenleaf Pearson, A.B. 
Bliss Perry, L.H.D. 
Hon. John Lathrop, A.M. 


Edwin Doak Mead, Esq. 

Edward Henry Clement, Litt.D. 

William Endicott, A.M. 

Lindsay Swift, A.B. 

Hon. George Sheldon. 

Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe, A.M. 

Arnold Augustus Rand, Esq. 


Jonathan Smith, A.B. 
Albert Matthews, A.B. 


David Masson, LL.D. 

Rt. Hon. James Bryce, D.C.L. 

Rt. Hon. Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 
Bart., D.C.L. 

Pasquale Villari, D.C.L. 

Henry Charles Lea, LL.D. 

Adolf Harnack, D.D. 
Rt. Hon. John Morley, LL.D. 
Gold win Smith, D.C.L. 

Ernest Lavisse. 

Rear-Admiral Alfred Thayer 


Hon. John Bigelow, LL.D. 
Hubert Howe Bancroft, A.M. 

John Austin Stevens, A.B. 
Joseph Florimond Loubat, LL.D. 
Charles Henry Hart, LL.B. 

Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Litt.D. 
John Marshall Brown, A.M. 
Hon. Andrew Dickson White, LL.D. 

Sir James McPherson Le Moine. 
Henry Adams, LL.D. 


Rev. Charles Richmond Weld, LL.D. 

John Andrew Doyle, M.A. 


Hon. James Burrill Angell, LL.D. 
William Babcock Weeden, A.M. 


Rev. George Park Fisher, D.D. 

Woodrow Wilson, LL.D. 

Hon. Joseph Hodges Choate, D.C.L. 



John Franklin Jameson, LL.D. 

Rev. William Cunningham, LL.D. 


Hon. Simeon Eben Baldwin, LL.D. 
John Bassett Moore, LL.D. 

Daniel Coit Gilman, LL.D. 
Frederic Harrison, M.A. 
Frederic Bancroft, LL.D. 
Charles Harding Firth, LL.D. 
William James Ashley, M.A. 


Edward Gaylord Bourne, Ph.D. 
John Bach McMaster, LL.D. 
Albert Yenn Dicey, LL.D. 
Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D. 
John Christopher Schwab, Ph.D. 
Worthington Chauncey Ford, Esq. 


Rev. Arthur Blake Ellis, LL.B. 

Auguste Moireau. 

Hon. Horace Davis, LL.D. 


Sidney Lee, Litt.D. 

Frederick Jackson Turner, Ph.D. 

Sir Spencer Walpole, K.C.B. 


William Archibald Dunning, LL.D. 
James Schouler, LL.D. 
George Parker Winship, A.M. 
Gabriel Hanotaux. 
Hubert Hall. 


Andrew Cunningham McLaugh- 
lin, A.M. 
Hon. Beekman Winthrop, LL.B. 

Hon. James Phinney Baxter, Litt.D. 


Members icho have died, or of whose death information has been received, since the 

last volume of Collections was issued, June 15, 1905, arranged in 

the order of their election, and with date of death. 


William Phineas Upham, A.B Nov. 23, 1905. 

Rev. Edward James Young, D.D June 23,1908. 

Rev. Edmund Farwell Slafter, D.D Sept. 22, 1906. 

Hon. Stephen Salisbury, A.M Nov. 16, 1905. 

Hon. James Madison Barker, LL.D Oct. 3, 1905. 

[The Membership of John Carver Palfrey, A.M., was terminated by resignation 
Dec. 14, 1905, and the Memberships of George Spring Merriam, A.M., and of Thomas 
Corwin Mendenhall, LL.D., were both terminated by resignation Nov. 8, 1906.] 

Hon. Carl Schurz, LL D May 14, 1906. 


Gustave Vapereau April 18, 1906. 

Rev. Henry Martyn Baird, D.D Nov. 11, 1906. 

Alexander Brown, D.CL Aug. 29, 1906. 

Richard Garnett, LL.D April 13, 1906. 

Frederic William Maitland, LL.D Dec. 19, 1906. 

Hon. John Hay, LL.D July 1, 1905. 

[The Membership of Hon. William Ashmead Courtenay, LL.D., was terminated by 
resignation Dec. 14, 1905; and the name of Capt. Alfred Thayer Mahan, D.C.L., was 
transferred from the Corresponding to the Honorary List Jan. 10, 1907.] 



* I "HE Bowdoin and Temple Papers form a portion of 
A the great collection of Winthrop Papers given to the 
Society under the will of our late associate Kobert C. 
Winthrop, Jr., and are mainly comprised in five large 
volumes. In 1897 a selection from them, consisting 
almost wholly of letters to or from Governor Bowdoin 
and his son-in-law Sir John Temple, during our revolu- 
tionary period, was published under the direction of a 
committee, of which Mr. Winthrop and the late Mellen 
Chamberlain were members. That volume ended with 
the year 1782, and it was thought best to defer the publi- 
cation of a second volume in order that the Society might 
print at once a selection from the Jefferson Papers given 
by Mr. Coolidge, and carry out some other plans which 
had been necessarily delayed. The preparation of the 
second part has been deferred for a longer time than 
was then anticipated; but as only one of the original com- 
mittee is living it has been thought desirable that their 
plan should now be completed. This second and final 
volume covers the period from 1783 to 1812, closing with 
the death of the younger Bowdoin. In the earlier part 
of this period much light is thrown on the history of 
Governor Bowdoin's administration and on his successful 
efforts for the suppression of Shays's insurrection ; and 

[ xiii ] 


in the later part abundant details will be found relating 
to the abortive efforts between 1806 and 1808 for the 
acquisition from Spain of East and West Florida and the 
settlement of the western boundary of Louisiana. 

In the Preface to the first part, which, with the excep- 
tion of the last paragraph, was written by Mr. Winthrop, 
some account of the different members of the Bowdoin 
family is given, but it w^ill be convenient to add here J 
a few facts connected with the younger Bowdoin's diplo- 
matic career. In November, 1804, he was nominated by 
Mr. Jefferson as minister to Madrid, and the appointment 
was at once confirmed. At that time his health was such 
as to render it inexpedient for him to go to Washington 
to receive his instructions and have a personal interview 
with the President and the Secretary of State, and this 
formality was accordingly dispensed with ; but it was not 
until the end of April that he was able to embark for 
Spain. He reached Santander, on the Bay of Biscay, a 
little more than two hundred miles from Madrid, early in 
June. Here various vexatious delays occurred in obtain- 
ing permission to land and proceed on his journey; and in 
the meantime he became seriously ill and was confined to 
his bed in the house of the American consul in Santander. 
Finally he decided that his health was such as to render 
it dangerous for him to go to Madrid, where he could 
not obtain the necessary medical advice, and he went to 
England. He arrived there about the end of July, and 
remained until the latter part of October, when he went 
to Paris. In March, 1806, he was joined with General 
Armstrong, the American minister to France, in a special 
commission to treat with Spain through the intervention ot 
France. This ill-judged measure wholly failed to produce 
the results which the administration at Washington had 
in view, and during Mr. Bowdoin's residence in Paris the 


two ministers worked at cross-purposes and were openly- 
suspicious of each other. The ill-feeling which existed 
between them was well known at Washington, and was 
probably as well known in Paris and in Madrid ; but at 
no time do Jefferson and Madison seem to have had their 
confidence in Bowdoin and their personal regard for him 
shaken. Of Armstrong's general ability there is no doubt, 
but he was utterly deficient in judgment and tact, and he 
was the victim of his own petty jealousies. His author- 
ship of the Newburg Addresses will not be forgotten by 
any student of American history; and his management of 
the War Department during the war of 1812 with Great 
Britain was not successful. Some years afterward, in 
September, 1822, John Q.uincy Adams expressed his belief 
that Armstrong was " one of the ablest writers and most 
unprincipled men that this country had ever produced. " 

For the Committee, 


Boston, February 18, 1907. 


Part II. 

THE > 



Kichmond, Feb. 28, 83. 


My Old Friend, — Permitt me through you to con- 
gratulate the State Massachusetts-bay on the estab- 
lishment of its sovereignty in political freedom; & 
may I beg of you to render acceptable to the State 
& citizens the congratulations of an Old Governor (Ul- 
timus Anglorum according to Charter). This address 
arises from old friendship to that people mixt with the 
profoundest reverence for the State : & I wish to express 
this sense in the most marked terms of respect. 

In congratulating the State I congratulate you a citi- 
zen participant of its sovereignty & freedom. May you 
live to see & have health to enjoy the progress of the 

I consider this wonderfull Revolution as the visible 
interposition of Divine Providence, superceeding the ordi- 
nary course of human affaires. 

. . . Quod promittere nemo 
Auderet, volvenda dies, en, attulit ultro. f 

I mean most certainly to come & see the country in its 
sovereignty & freedom. It will be a sight worth travel- 

* For a notice of Governor Pownall see the first part of these Papers, 6 Mass. Hist. 
Coll., vol.ix. p. 138 note. He and Governor Bowdoin were frequent correspondents. — Eds. 
t Virgil, iEneid, ix. 6. — Eds. 


ling to see. It hath pleased God to take from me every 
connexion (my allegiance excepted) which I could wish 
to hold with this my native land ; & to give me a feel of 
wishing that branch of the English nation & that country 
which shall adopt me, My Country. It hath pleased him 
to give me health & energy of spirits equall to such a 
voyage ; and I am determined to come & see it (if so 
please God) before I dye. To see the commencement 
of a great empire at its first foundations is an object that 
no other period, no other part of the world ever since it 
was a world, could exhibit : it is an object more worthy 
the contemplation of a speculating philosopher than can 
be or ever could be seen in any other country. And to 
one who loved that country so rising empire must be a 
scene of joy not to be felt in any other view of this 
world. I wish very much & should be glad to hear from 
you on this subject. My plan is to come first to Boston, 
then to make the tour of the continent, if I find things as 
I wish, to look for some place of settlement, where I can 
be best at ease for the remainder of my daies. On this 
plan I mean to purchase in America. I could bring over 
with me (if my plan of settling takes place) a number of 
experienced farmers & usefull labourers, if they could 
be anywhere settled jointly with me. I know the nature 
of settling too well to suffer any (who take my advice) to 
go into the woods. Such emigrants as coming to you 
may make settlements usefull to your country & beneficial 
to themselves must sett down on such half-reclaimed 
lands, such half-made farms, as are called improvements. 
Are there any such to be had so as that half a dozen or ten 
families may sett down to gather upon in as many farms 
with one pretty large one adjoyning to them ? & where 
abouts will the prices of such run ? The first thing how- 
ever which I wish to be informed in is, how a traveller 
like myself, how I myself would be received, and whether 
permitted to travel with the same liberty that one may 


in Europe ? Whether a traveller of this description must 
not expect to meet with suspicions & jealousies & the 
effect of old grudges to us Englishmen ? Whether one 
must not expect to experience many occasions of humili- 
ating treatment that would destroy all pleasure in & 
obstruct all advantage to be derived from such a philo- 
sophic journey ? It will be impossible that I could 
arange my matters so as to come this year, & it would 
be improper for me to think of it 'till the swell, as well 
as the storm, of the late troubles has subsided & things 
begin to flow in their natural course & channel. I 
therefore should be glad in the mean time to hear from 
you on the subject. I have enclosed this to our old friend 
D r Franklin & have desired him to forward it to you. 

Enclosed I send to you & D r Cooper or to either singly 
& separately to make a deed of gift for me to Harvard 
College of the 500 acres of land I have in Pownal- 
borough, which were granted to me by the Kenebeck 
Company. As I have not at hand the original grant, 
you will take the description of the land from your own 
records : and as I am not au fait as to the forms of mak- 
ing this deed of gift according to your laws, so as to vest 
it properly in the Corporation for the purpose of begin- 
ning the establishment of a Political Law Lectureship or 
Professorship, on this basis described by Cicero, — 

Constituendi juris ab ilia summa lege capiamus ex- 
ordium quae seculis omnibus ante nata est, quam scripta 
lex ulla, aut quam omnino civitas constituta.* . . . Non 
a prgetoris edicto, ut plerique nunc ; neque a XII Tabulis, 
ut superiores ; sed penitus ex intima philosophia hauri- 
enda juris disciplina. t • • • Non [id jus civile,] ac potius 
ignoratio juris litigiosa est, quam scientia. | I mean & 
wish to see instituted Lectures on the Science of Polity 
& Law-giving as derived from God & nature & the nature 
of man,, so as to form the minds of the students to be- 

* De Leg., i. vi. 18. — Eds. f Id. ; . v. 17. — Eds. J Id. i. vi. 18. — Eds. 


come efficient & good members of a free state. Sed hsec 
posterius, this is sufficient to mark my intention. If this 
power be not full & sufficient I will confirm the gift & 
grant in any form & manner that you will send me to 
those purposes. 

I beg my best wishes & respects to all who remember 
me ; & I am in every sense of respect & in every sense 
of friendship, dear Sir, 

Your affectionate friend & ser*. 

rr x, tk t t> ™ '■« T. POWNALL. 

The Hon le James Bowdoin, Esq r . 


Boston, 13 Sept', 1783. 
Sir, — I have desired the bearer M r Allen, a Notary 
Public in this Common Wealth, to wait upon your Excel- 
lency for a bond with two responsible sureties in the pe- 
nal sum of Three Thousand Pounds sterling ! demanded 
and taken of me, by your Excellency ! which bond, 
countersigned with my protest against the same, bears 
date the 24 th day of December, 1781, sixty days after I, 
in that year, returned to this my native town and coun- 
try ! where I have ever since resided, with honor & repu- 
tation I trust, a faithfull citizen of the Common Wealth. 

With all due consideration, I have the honor to be, 
Sir, your Excellency's 

Most obedient hble. servant. 

J. Temple. 

To his Excellency, John Hancock, Esq r , 

Governor of the State of Massachusetts 


Boston, Sept r 18 th , 1783. j 

Sir, — Yesterday M r Henry Alline delivered me your 
letter, which I shall lay before the General Court at their 


meeting next week; & as soon as I receive their decision 

upon its contents, you shall be made acquainted with it. 

I am, Sir, your most obed' serv 1 . 

John Hancock. 

John Temple, Esq r . 



State of Connecticut, Lebanon, 
1 st October, 1783. 
To the R T Hon ble Earl of Dartmouth. 

My Lord, — It may somewhat surprize your Lordship 
to receive a letter from a Governor of one of the United 
States of America ; and at a time too when your Lord- 
ship hath ceas'd to hold that ministerial office which 
formerly gave me occasion to write officially to yon. I 
flatter myself, however, that you will not take it amiss 
that I thus trespass a few minutes upon your time. 

Your Lordship will recollect that I had frequently the 
honor of writing to you at the beginning of those 
troubles which brought on a war between G. Britain & 
this country ; & that I took the liberty, as I thought 
it my duty, to offer my sentiments with freedom on 
that occasion. 

My letter of March, 1775, in particular, I had great 
faith would have done some good in setting aside the 
false representations which had from time to time been 
made against this country. That letter, my Lord, was 
dictated by an honest heart ; & how far it mark'd the 
consequences of Britain's persevering in her plan your 
Lordship is now well able to judge. Had the truths then 
frankly made known to your Lordship for the mutual 
good of both countries been attended to, what blood 
& treasure might not have been saved on both sides ! 

* Neither this letter nor the letter of March, 1775, to which reference is made in it, is in 
the Trumbull Papers in the possession of this Society, copious selections from which have 
been published in the Collections. — Eds. 


what friendship & affection have been preserved & how 
long might not the two countries have remain'd in a 
mutual happy connexion ! But it is done ; & to look 
back can now be of no further use than to make past 
errors subservient, as they sometimes may be made, to 
wiser & happier conduct in future. 

As it appears to be now the sincere wish & desire (as 
it doubtless is the wisdom) of the ministry & people of 
England, to recover, as far as may be, the friendship and 
commerce of this country, may I suggest to your Lord- 
ship that every act of justice & reparation of injuries 
which shall evidently appear to have been done will tend 
not a little to further those wishes, & in particular suffer 
me to mention the singular case of M r Temple. He and 
Doctor Franklin are the only crown officers of rank who 
were dismiss'd from very lucrative & honorable employ- 
ment for their attachment to this their native country ; 
or rather for not falling in with all the other crown 
officers in those misrepresentations which so fatally 
decewd Great Britain. D r Franklin has been employ'd 
& amply honor'd & rewarded by his country, & could 
not accept if offer' d any reparation. M r Temple is 
therefore, as I said, singular in his sufferings. The 
British ministry have repeatedly acknowledged that he 
was as a crown officer both faithf ill & able in office; but 
his attachment to his country render'd it necessary to 
remove him from the several offices which he sustain'd. 
Experience, dearly bought, must have convinc'd that 
same ministry that M r Temple's sentiments & represen- 
tations concerning his country were founded in truth, 
while those of his enemies who sought & effected his 
overthrow were founded in falshood. 

Should M r Temple (who writes me he is about going 
to England) meet with honest & honorable reparation for 
his past sufferings, it would be pleasing to his friends & 
connexions (who are neither few nor insignificant in these 


States) & would no doubt tend to create good humour 
between the two countries. He was 1/ Governor of one 
of the then Provinces ; had a seat at the council board in 
live other Provinces ; was Surveyor General of the Royal 
Revenue in America ; &, afterwards, Surveyor General 
of the Customs in England; he was also a Commissioner, 
part of the time that wicked & incendiary board acted in 
this country ; in all which stations, I have always heard 
that he acquitted himself with honor & reputation in the 
eyes of the ministry, except that he was, as they were 
taught to think, improperly friendly to this country; 
but he could have had no other view than to the 
general good in being friendly to this country, since he 
could have expected nothing in emolument from Amer- 
ica equal to what he then enjoy'd under the crown, for 
it is not the intention of these States that great emol- 
uments shall accrue to any, be their stations what they 

I have written this letter, not more with a wish to 
serve M r Temple (if peradventure it may serve him) 
than to shew your Lordship that I also cordially wish 
oblivion to past injuries & a sincere & lasting return 
of intercourse, friendship, & commerce between the two 

My son,* who in the cool hour of recollection I dare 
say will be thought to have been cruelly imprison'd & ill 
treated in England, will have the honor of delivering this 
letter to your Lordship. He returns to England to im- 
prove his natural turn to the pencil, which, his country - 
man the celebrated artist, M r West, thinks worthy of 
cultivation. I have not even the least pretension to ask 
any favor of your Lordship, but should my son meet 
with any degree of spontaneous countenance or protec- 
tion from your Lordship, I should feel myself very much 

* Col. John Trumbull, the painter. He and Temple were intimate friends. See 6 
Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. ix. pp. 464-468. — Eds. 


oblig'd, & should be happy to render your Lordship any 
services that may possibly be in my power on this side 
the water. 

I am, &c, &c. 

Jon th Trumbull, 
Gov 1 " of the State of Connecticut. 

I have taken the liberty to enclose your Lordship a 
copy of mine of March, 1775, least thro multiplicity of 
business, the original should have been mislaid. 


Boston, 20 th of October, 1783. 

Sir, — Inclosed is the copy of a letter I, on the 13 th 
ultimo, wrote to the Governor of this Common Wealth, 
together with his Excellency's answer, of the 18 th fol- 
lowing ; ever since which I have been waiting with 
much solicitude for the determination of the two honor- 
able houses, (if they shall think it a matter to be 
determined by them) agreably to the purport of the 
Governor's said answer. 

Is it possible, Sir, that the two houses can let another 
session pass over without bringing this matter, if cognis- 
able by them, to a fair and final determination ; at least, 
as far as they may think they have to do with it ? 

Why am I thus long held under excessive and unpre- 
cedented bonds ? and why is Justice thus long delayed or 
withheld from me a native, a subject, and a citizen of 
this now free & independent State ! ? It is now more 
than two years, Sir, since I returned home that my 
character, far dearer to me than life itself, has been thus 
held in suspence (by the vilest art & influence as I 
apprehend) and upon a matter, nothing short of high 
treason! which ought to have been seriously considered 
and without delay descided upon by the government. 

1783.] JOHN TEMPLE. 11 

If I have offended against the laws of my country, 
why have not those laws been long since put in force 
against me ? If I have not offended against them, as, 
knowingly, I certainly have not, why have I till this 
time, (more than two years) been thus held, and in a 
very singular manner too, under such excessive, disgrace- 
full, and unprecedented bonds ? Is this the fair fruit of 
our successfull struggles against tyranny & oppression ? 
This the happy advantages of our glorious independence 
obtained at such an immence expence of our best blood 
& treasure ? Is our constitution & government really such 
as that one citizen because he happens to be in office 
shall with impunity find means (in gratification of base 
envy & vindictive malice) to keep the character & repu- 
tation of another for more than two years suspended 
under insinuations of the highest crimes, conspiracy & 
treason against the state ? and, by an alarming influence 
banefull to all government, baffle & defeat his every 
attempt to obtain justice from the laws of his country ? 

If these be the first fruits of our glorious revolution ! 
and no remedy or redress is to be found from the laws, I 
for one, Sir, would very soon relinquish my birth right, 
and seek a residence in some other country where justice 
is more awake & the laws less tardy in their operation. 

I have, it is well known, upon the most important & 
trying occasions, & at every risk & sacrafise, rendered 
great and faithfull services to this my native country ! 
and, regardless of all selfinterested considerations on the 
one hand, as well as unmindfull of supreme ingratitude 
on the other, I hope for opportunities of rendering still 
further services : nevertheless, Sir, I have at present no 
favors to ask of the two honorable houses ; I feel myself 
oppressed, injured, and ill treated in the extreme! Justice 
therefore, without further delay, is all that I have to ask or 
desire ; and which, I again claim, request, and demand, as 
my birth right in this now soverign independent State. 


The bond demanded & taken of me by the Governor, 
on the 24 th of December, 1781, I signed (circumstanced 
as I then was) through absolute necessity; & with the 
same feelings & consideration that I would sign a prom- 
isary note, or give up my purse to a rober with his pis- 
tol at my breast upon the high way ! and I endorsed my 
protest against it accordingly. 

Permit me, Sir, to request the favor that you will 
again move the honorable house of which you are 
Speaker, that they will, if not from the justice due to an 
individual, yet for the suffering honor & reputation of the 
government, take this matter (if thought cognisable by 
them) under their serious & immediate consideration, and 
determine thereupon as they in their wisdom & justice 
shall think proper. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient servant. 

J. Temple. 

The Honorable Tristram Dalton, Esq r , 

Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

A similar letter M r Temple wrote to the Hon ,e M r 
Adams, President of Senate, to be read to the honorable 
board at which he presided. 


Commonwealth of Massachusetts^ 

In Senate, October 22 d , 1783. 
Whereas during the late war, the conduct of John 
Temple, Esq r , in passing to & from the enemies of these 
States without the permission in such cases required 
by the laws & customs of nations at war, & on pretences 
not well explained, excited in the free citizens of these 
United States many & just suspicions touching his de- 
signs, in consequence whereof, & by due precaution to 


prevent any harm to the Commonwealth the Governor 
with the advice & consent of the Council, did, on the 
twenty-fourth day of December, A. D. 1781, cause the 
said John Temple, Esq r , to enter into bond to this Com- 
monwealth with two sureties, conditioned that he would 
not do or say any thing in opposition to or prejudice of the 
proceedings of Congress, or of the Assembly or Council of 
this State, &■ that he would not directly or indirectly give 
any intelligence to the enemies of the United States. And 
whereas it appears to this Court that the reasons for which 
he was laid under bond ceased with the war, 

Therefore, Resolved that the said John Temple, Esq r , 
be & he is hereby discharg'd from the said bond & the 
same is hereby declared null & void ; and the Treasurer 
of this Commonwealth is directed to cancel & deliver the 
same bond to him accordingly. 

Sent down for concurrence. 

S. Adams, President. 
In the House of Representatives. 

Oct r 28 th , 1783. Read & concurred. 

Appro v'd. Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 

John Hancock. 
True Copy. 

Attest, John Avery, Sec 7 . 


To the Honble., the Senate of the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts — 

In obedience to their direction that the Attorney 
General should reduce to writing his verbal report to 

* The report and other documents here printed are from a manuscript of six folio pages, 
attested by the autograph signature of John Avery, Secy, and evidently compiled after the 
passage and approval of the Resolve of Oct. 28, 1783. In the Bowdoin and Temple 
Papers there is a great mass of printed and manuscript material connected with the bitter 
personal and political antagonism of James Sullivan, afterward Governor, and Sir John 
Temple, which it does not seem desirable to reproduce here. We may add as an interest- 
ing nnd noteworthy circumstance that in 1809 one of Sullivan's sons was married to a 
granddaughter of Temple. — Eds 


them respecting his doings on the allegations of James 
Sullivan, Esq r , against John Temple, Esq r , referred to him 
by the General Court at their last session, — 

The said Attorney General answers that the above 
mentioned allegations were referred to him " to be acted 
upon as to law & justice appertaineth " : That upon con- 
sidering these allegations, there appear to be some of 
them bottomed upon great political questions, & exceed- 
ingly extensive beyond M r Temple's particular case, & 
therefore not cognizable by or suitable to be submitted 
to the determination of a Grand Jury : That had he 
passed over these questions & allegations, & prosecuted 
M r Temple for the high crimes & misdemeanours ex- 
pressed in the said allegations it might have been con- 
sidered as such an acknowledgment of M r Temple's 
citizenship, & such a superceeding of the allegations & 
questions respecting the same, as he thought he had no 
right to make : That as to the question of citizenship 
respecting M r Temple & many others who may be tho't 
to be in like circumstances he knows of no law or regula- 
tion of trial provided by this Commonwealth that comes 
within his department : That, as to the question of pru- 
dence, whether M r Temple shall be admitted to a citizen- 
ship, he conceives it to be a political question beyond the 
extent of his office: And that for these reasons he has 
not acted upon the said allegations. All which with 
great respect, as in duty bound, is humbly submitted. 

Kob. Treat Paine. # 

* This document is not dated; but among the Bowdoin and Temple Papers is a printed 
broadside indorsed ''A Narrative of the Conduct of the Governor & of the Proceedings of 
the two houses of Assembly concerning M r Temple from his arrival in 1781 to the present 
day," which gives its history. In October, 1782, Mr. Sullivan delivered to the General 
Court "eight or ten sheets of paper, with the following title to them : These sheets contain 
the facts and grounds of the information contained in the letter of James Sullivan, Esq., to 
the Hon. Nathaniel Gorham, Esq., Speaker, &c, dated the 26th day of September, 1782." 
Thereupon the two branches after reading the said sheets ordered that they should " be 
referred to the Attorney General to be acted upon as to law and justice appertaineth." 
Apparently nothing further was done at that time ; but "in the next session, upon the meet- 
ing of the two Houses in January, 1783, a member of the lower House moved that the 


In Senate, February 19 th , 1783. Read & thereupon 
Ordered, that William Sever & John Bacon, Esq™, with 
such as the Honble. House may join be a Committee to 
take this Representation under consideration & report 
what may be proper to be done thereon. 

Sent down for concurrence. 

S. Adams, Preside 

In the House of Representatives, February 20 th , 1783. 
Read and concurred & Gen 1 Ward, M r Dane & M r Fra- 
zier are join'd. 

Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 

The Committee of both Houses on the Representation 
of Robert Treat Paine, Esq r , Attorney General of this 
Commonwealth, &c, have attended that service & having 
considered the same report the following Resolve which 
is submitted. 

W. Sever, p r ord r . 

Resolved that the allegations of James Sullivan, Esq r , 
against John Temple, Esq r , be referred to the Attorney 
General of this Commonwealth who is hereby directed 
immediately to lay such facts therein contained as par- 
ticularly relate to the said John Temple, Esq r , before the 
Grand Jury of the County of Suffolk, that such proceed- 
ings may be had thereon as to law & justice appertain. 

In Senate, March 4 th , 1783. Read & not accepted and 

Resolved that the Governor be & he is hereby re- 
quested to order John Temple, Esq r , within a reasonable 

Attorney-General be called upon to repeat what he had done in obedience to their order 
concerning the charge of Mr. James Sullivan against Mr. Temple V The Attorney appeared 
upon the floor, made a very frivolous (and in the opinion of some of the Members a very 
impertinent) excuse or apology for such his total neglect of positive orders given the preced- 
ing session ! The Senate likewise called upon him to report in writing what he had done 
m obedience to their order concerning the said charge against Mr. Temple ? " Then follows 
the report as given above. — Eds. 


time to depart from this Commonwealth, not to return 
into the same again without leave therefor first had of 
the General Court. 

In Senate, March 5 th , 1783. Read again, reconsidered 
& thereupon, Ordered that the Governor with advice of 
Council be requested to take proper measures, that it 
may be speedily determined whether it be consistent 
with the public safety to permit John Temple, Esq r , to 
remain any longer time within this Commonwealth. 
Sent down for concurrence. g Adam?? presidt _ 

In the House of Representatives, March 7 th , 1783. 
Read & concurred. 

Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 

Gentlemen of the Senate & Gentlemen of the House 
of Representatives : 

The Secretary will lay before you a letter I have re- 
ceived from John Temple, Esq r , upon the subject of his 
bond ; as M r Temple's affairs are still before the General 
Court, I judg'd it most proper to submit it to you to act 
upon as you shall think proper. Jqhn Hancock 

Council Chamber, Boston, 27 th Sept r , 1783. 

In Senate, Sept. 27 th , 1783. Read & thereupon Or- 
dered, that Charles Turner & Nathaniel Tracey, Esq r8 , with 
such as the Honble. House shall join be a Committee to 
take this message & the letter accompanying the same 
into consideration, & report what may be proper to be 
done thereon. 

Sent down for concurrence. 

S. Adams, Preside 

In the House of Representatives, same day, 

Read & concurred, & M r Dane, M r Hosmer & M r 
Clarke are joined. 

Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 


In Senate, October 9 th , 1783. Ordered that Seth 
Washburne, Esq r , be on this Committee in the room of 
Nathaniel Tracey, Esq r , who has leave of absence. 

S. Adams, Presid*. 

In the House of Representatives, Sept. 30 th , 178,3. 
Ordered that M r Page be on the joint committee on the 
Governor's message relative to M r Temple in the room 
of M r Dane, who is absent. 

Sent up for concurrence. 

Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. October 11 th , 1783. 

The Committee of both Houses to whom the Gover- 
nor's message of the 27 th September last was committed, 
together with a letter from John Temple, Esqr., to the 
Governor accompanying the said message, having ma- 
turely considered the matter are unanimously of opinion 
that the said Temple have a hearing before both Houses 
in one room, in such way & manner as the General 
Court shall order & direct. Which is submitted 

Seth Washburn, <p Order. 

In Senate, October 11 th , 1783. Read & not accepted, 
& thereupon Ordered that this Report be recommitted, 
& that the Committee be directed to take into considera- 
tion the papers on the files of the General Court relating 
to John Temple, Esq r . 

Sent down for concurrence 

S. Adams, Presid*. 

In the House of Representatives, October 13 th , 1783. 
Read & concurred. 

Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Committee of 
both Houses appointed to take into consideration the 
Governor's message of 27 th Sept. last & the letter accom- 


panying the same from John Temple, Esq r , report as per 
the Resolve on the other side. 

Seth Washburne, pr. order. 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Whereas John Temple, Esq r , in the year One thousand 
seven hundred & seventy removed himself & family from 
the then Province of Massachusetts Bay to Great Britain 
& there remained until the year One Thousand seven 
hundred & seventy eight & then returned to America 
in such manner as excited suspicion & jealousies against 
him, reports then notoriously current in England relative 
to his mission as well as the person accompanying him 
gave force to the suspicions then raised, & the said 
Temple calling himself a citizen of this State did in May, 
One thousand seven hundred & seventy nine, without 
obtaining permission therefor depart from this State & 
voluntarily return to the kingdom of Great Britain & 
there receive protection from the laws & the King of that 
kingdom, then at open war with these States, until the 
year One thousand seven hundred & eighty one, & in 
the month of October in the same year did without 
permission return to this Commonwealth, whereupon his 
Excellency the Governor & Council taking the matter 
into their consideration, as well to satisfy the justifiable 
jealousies of the good people of this Commonwealth as 
to prevent any injury which might arise to the United 
States, either from said Temple's conduct aforesaid or 
from any thing which he might thereafter do against 
them, did order that he should enter into bonds with 
sureties, conditioned that he would not do or say any 
thing in opposition to or in prejudice of the proceedings 
of Congress or of the Assembly or Council of this State, 
& that he would not directly or indirectly give any intel- 
ligence to the enemies of these United States ; and the 
said Temple did on the twenty fourth day of December, 
in the year last above mentioned give such bond accord- 


ingly, — And whereas the United States in Congress 
assembled by their letter dated the first day of March, 
One thousand seven hundred & eighty two request the 
Supreme Executive Power of this Commonwealth to take 
such measures with regard to said Temple as should put 
it out of his power to injure the United States, for which 
& other considerations the said Temple's bond aforesaid 
has remained uncancelled until this day, — And whereas 
there appears no evidence that the said Temple hath 
broken the condition of the bond aforesaid ; & it does not 
appear probable that his liberation will be detrimental or 
dangerous to this Commonwealth, or to the United States 
of America — 

It is therefore, Resolved that the said bond be & it is 
hereby declared to be null from the passing of this 
Resolve, And the Treasurer of this Commonwealth is 
hereby directed to deliver the same to the said Temple 
on his making personal application therefor. 

In Senate, October 22 d , 1783. 

Read & accepted as taken into a new draft. 
Sent dowm for concurrence 

S. Adams, Preside 

In the House of Representatives, October 24 th , 1783. 
Read & concurred as taken into another new draft. 
Sent up for concurrence. 

Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 

In Senate, Oct r 28 th , 1783. Read & concurred with 

amendments at A. 

Sent down for concurrence 

., , „ 4 , t, S. Adams, Presid*. 

dele from A to B. 

In the House of Representatives, October 28 th , 1783. 
Read & concurred. 
. , n Tristram Dalton, Spk r . 

John Hancock. 


Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

(New Draft of the Senate) 
In Senate, Oct* 22 d , 1783. 

Whereas in the time of the late war, the Governor 
with the advice of Council was pleased for certain reasons 
tp order that John Temple, Esq r , should enter into bonds 
with sureties, conditioned that he would not do or say 
any thing in opposition to or in prejudice of the proceed- 
ings of Congress or of the Assembly or Council of this 
State ; and that he would not directly or indirectly give 
any intelligence to the enemies of the United States : 
And the said Temple did enter into bond accordingly, — 
And whereas it does not appear to this Court that any 
reasons now remain why he should continue under the 
said bond. 

Resolved, as the opinion of this Court, that the 
Governor discharge the said John Temple, Esq r , from the 
said bond. 

(New draft of the House) 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
In Senate, Oct* 22 d , 1783. 

Whereas during the late war the conduct of John 
Temple, Esq r , in passing to & from the enemies of these 
States, without the permission in such cases required by 
the laws & customs of nations at war, & on pretences not 
well explained, excited in the free citizens of these 
United States many & just suspicions touching his de- 
signs ; in consequence whereof & by due precaution to 
prevent an} r harm to the Commonwealth the Governor 
with the advice & consent of the Council did, on the 
twenty fourth day of December, a. d. 1781, cause the said 
John Temple, Esq 1 ", to enter into bond to this Common- 

A B 

wealth, in the penal sum of Two thousand pounds, with 
two sureties, conditioned that he would not do or say 
any thing in opposition to or prejudice of the proceed- 

1783.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 21 

ings of Congress, or of the Assembly or Council of this 
State, and that he would not directly or indirectly give 
any intelligence to the enemies of the United States — 
And whereas it appears to this Court that the reasons 
for which he was laid under bond ceased with the war — 
Therefore Kesolved that the said John Temple, Esq r , 
be & he is hereby discharged from the said bond & the 
same is hereby declared null & void ; And the Treasurer 
of this Commonwealth is directed to cancel & deliver the 
same bond to him accordingly. 

The foregoing six pages contain true copies of the 

Attest. John Avery, Sec 7 . 


Boston, Nov r 20, 1783. 
The Hon. Tho s Pownall, Esq r . 

D R Sir, — I am honoured by your letter of y e 28 th Feb 7 
last. Its coming by way of Paris & Phil a occasioned my 
not receiving it till October. The General Court was 
then sitting, and as your congratulations on American 
Independence could not be communi. so well as by y r own 
letter, I sent it to the President of y e Senate who publickly 
read it to them, as the Speaker afterwards did to y e House 
of Representatives. It was rec d in both houses with pleas- 
ure & gave general satisfaction. The event upon which 
you congratulate us is really an extraordinary one. I 
consider it with you, " as y e visible interposition of divine 
providence, superceeding the ordinary course of human 
affairs.'' Among y e agreable consequences that are likely 
to arise from it, your intended visit to this country will 

* This letter is printed from Bowdoin's rough draught. It was communicated to the 
Society by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, in October, 1861, and was first printed in the 
Proceedings, vol. v. pp. 245, 246. But it is believed that the letter to which it is an 
answer, and the subsequent correspondence on the same subject, except Bowdoin's letter 
of Aug 21, 1784, have not been printed before. — Eds. 


be one. To us of the old race it will give y e sincerest 
pleasure to see our old friend ; and to none of them more 
than to myself. When you come you will scarcely see 
any other than new faces. Tho' this is naturally to be 
expected after so long absence, the change w ch in that 
respect has happened within the few years since y e revolu- 
tion is as remarkable as y e revolution itself. It seems to 
have anticipated the time when " all old things shall be 
done away and all things become new." I observe it is 
your plan to purchase in America, w T ith a view of spend- 
ing y e remainder of y r days in it, if you find things as you 
wish. There are several very agreable places within a 
few miles of Boston w ch I suppose may be purchased with 
good buildings & accommodations to them with a quantity 
of land from 50 to 100 acres or a sufficiency for experi- 
ments and y e rural amusement of a gent n , but I do not 
know of a number of farms lying together that are to be 
purchased, tho' money eno' will command anything. Of 
rough lands at a distance, there is enough to be had ; but 
these do not correspond to your description. I will make 
further enquiry, and if I sh d be informed of a situa. answer- 
ing to that description, I will give you notice of it. In 
y e mean while lay aside every apprehension of uncivil 
treatment in travelling through this country. Every 
gent n from every country, excepting American refugees, 
against whom y e spirit of resentment continues high, may 
travel with y e same freedom as formerly. Your inten- 
tion of beginning y e establishment of a professorship of 
political law in our University, on y e basis you describe 
from Cicero, intitles you not only to the thanks of that 
society but of every person who wishes well to the 
Commonwealth. It would be an excellent institution, 
and would hand down to posterity w th honour y e name of 
y e founder. But I am afraid your intention, and expec- 
tations from y e Pownalborough land will be disappointed. 
The property of it as I am informed has been alienated 

1783.] THOMAS POWNALL. 23 

at public vendue for y e non-payment of taxes. Whether 
y e time for redeeming it limited by law be expired, I 
cannot tell. I have wrote to a gent n there to make critical 
enquiry about the taxes, y e sale, y e time of redemption, 
and every particular that will serve to give a right idea of 
this matter, about w ch you shall be further informed. In 
my letter to you by M r Temple in May, 1779, 1 acquainted 
you I had p d for you a small tax on that land, and that if 
you desired it, I w d pay y e future taxes, but as I did not 
hear from you about it, I imagined you did not choose 
in so hazardous a state of things to risk any money upon 
y e land. I communicated to D r Cooper your letter and 
y e inclosed deed of y e s d land, and at the next meeting 
shall lay them before y e Corporation of y e College, who 
individually are already made acquainted with them. 

M r Temple, by whom you'll receive this letter, goes to 
England with his family by this opportunity. He will 
be able to give a full account of everything you w d wish 
to know of y e situation of things on this side of the 
water. Wishing you every happiness, I am, w th y e sin- 
cerest esteem & y e most cordial affection, d r Sir, 

Yrs. &c. 

I had y e pleasure of writing to you in Aug 1 last p r M r 
Gorham and since p r . 


Richmond, Dec r 9, 83. 

My d e Friend, — I siezed the first oportunity w ch of- 
fered after the signing of the Preliminaries of Peace, 
when our Kino* had from the throne declared his acknowl- 
edgement of the independant souvereignty of N. America 
to congratulate you on this declared establishment in 
peace ; and in March last wrote a long letter to you which 
D r Franklin undertook to convey & forward. He has 
since by a note I have received from him acquainted me 


that he did so forward my letters with his own & that the 
ship by w ch they were sent was arrived. 

By a letter dated March 17, 1779, which I had the 
pleasure of receiving from you, you acquainted me that 
the lands which I held in Pownalborough & which (as I 
informed you) I intended to give to Harvard College were 
not sold, as others were in common, but that a gentleman 
at your request had undertaken to pay the taxes for me. 
During the warr I could not safely or properly take any 
step in that business, except saying that if the taxes were 
paid I would, when I could do it properly, repay the person 
who advanced them. This I wrote to you in the spring 
following. The moment however that the preliminaries 
were signed I made out a full power of attorney to your- 
self & D r Cooper, jointly or seperately, to make in my 
name a grant of these lands to the College as therein 
expressed. I enclosed this in my letter of March last. 

Having never received any answer from you or 
D r Cooper or the College on that head I must suppose 
either that my letters or your answer must have mis- 
carried.* I have therefore made out a second power of 
the same purport & tenor which M r J. Adams & his son 
have witnessed. Their signature will be known to you. 
My acknowledgment of this power as my act & deed 
is authenticated by a Justice of the Peace. I send it 
together with duplicates of my former letters. I hope 
these will come safe to hand. These duplicates are not 
now sent, the power excepted.! 

I received a [letter] from you dated Nov r 12, 83. It 
came by M r Gorham, who sent it to me from London to 
this place, where, since I quitted all publick affairs of 
this country, I live retired & alway reside. I invited 
him to come to me & spend a day or so with me ; but 

* Jan., 84. I have since rec d by M r Temple your letter acquainting me that the letter & 
power was received. 

t Th°se nine words are interlined in ink of a different color, and were probably added 
when the postscript was written. — Eds. 

1783.] THOMAS POWNALL. 25 

have not as yet seen him. As the matter mentioned in 
your letter respecting Charles-Town is in his hands & 
you referr me to him, I will when I see him give him 
every aid & advice that he may think can contribute to 
his purpose, but 'till I see him I know not what to say or 
what answer to give on that subject. 

I have not yet seen him. — Jan., 84. 

Since that, I have received a letter from you of an 
older date, viz. Sep r 23, 83, w ch is marked on the cover to 
be sent by favor of M r Wheelwright.* This letter con- 
tained enclosed an authenticated state of the case of Fal- 
mouth sent to me in a letter from the committees of that 
town. This letter desires me to become an agent in the 
case, or at least a receiver of such summs as the charitable 
here may be found disposed to give toward their relief. 
My answer to them, which I send enclosed to you under 
a flying seal, & which I beg you to seal & forward to 
them, will answer these points of your letter. 

M r Adams is so kind as to forward these dispatches for 
me & by his favor I send you a copy of my Memorial to 
the Souvereigns of America which I beg your acceptance 
of. The Memorial to the Souvereigns of Europe was soon 
known to be mine. A French translation of it was pub- 
lished in Holland as mine without my leave. And I gave 
the editor of another French translation printed & pub- 
lished at Bruxelles leave to putt my name to it, the reasons 
for which I expressed in a letter prefixed to that edition. 
There have been of French & English editions two or 
nearer three thousand copies sold. There is not any now 
left & I am applyed to for another edition. It was pub- 
lished in the very proper moment of the events which 
were balancing, & of the opinions of foreign ministers 
who, as well as our own, were disposed to endeavour to 
strengthen themselves in their old prejudices rather than 
to adopt those reasonings which the late great crisis 

* The letter here referred to was printed in Proceedings, vol. v. p. 244. — Eds. 


called for. It had its effect ; and ministers, both foreign 
& domestic (to speak with precision I should confine 
myself to foreign ministers) have learnt to take up a new- 
line of reasoning on the case. 

I wish most sincerely & anxiously that my Memorial to 
the Souvereigns of America may have as full & effectual 
operation ; saying this (as this letter comes by favor of 
M r Adams) it is justice to him to mark that he does not 
approve my idea of an office of executive, whether 
Consulls, Protectors, &c, &c, &c. I remain, however, 
clear in my opinion, if I had not convincing reasons for 
it yet from fears that " If the citizens of America do not 
establish some efficient executive office by Constitution, 
they should, from the necessity of the case, be led to 
adopt some power that will not only [be ?] unconstitu- 
tional but oppugnant to & destructive of the Principles of 
Political Freedom on which you are founded." # Adieu 
my dear Friend, 

I am faithfully & affectionately yours. 

The Hon be James Bowdoin, Esq. T. POWNALL. 

Jan 11, 84. London. I am here for a week in my way to 
Bath where I mean to reside for a couple of months or so 
'till spring & travelling weather fairly setts in — when I 
shall quitt England &' go abroad, & shall remain there 
'till I can clearly understand my ground as to my coming 
to America. In the mean time (this letter not being for- 
warded I have sent for it in order to add what I now 
write) I beg that if the lands, which I mean to give as 
the beginning of the foundation of a Law Professorship, 
are not sold beyond redemption, through default of the 
not-payment of taxes, which by my letter I hoped would 

* Pownall was a somewhat prolific writer on various subjects ; and among his publica- 
tions were "A Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe," 1780, which was several times 
reprinted in a more or less imperfect form, and "A Memorial to the Sovereigns of America," 
1783. A copy of the former work, printed in London for J. Stockdale, 1781, is in the 
Library of the Historical Society. See Allibone's Dictionary of Authors, vol. ii. p. 1658 ; 
Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xlvi. pp. 267, 268. — Eds. 

1783.] SAMUEL DEXTER. 27 

be paid, during the zvarr, without my intervention, I beg 
you will pay the taxes & charges for me that the lands 
may be vested in the College according to my intentions. 
I will repay you on your draught. I have besides this 
grant left by my will to Harvard College at my death all 
my printed books, & send you enclosed a copy of that 
part of my will w ch I beg you will communicate to & 
lodge with the College, that they may know how to act 
in case of my death. 

As I mean to reside in France for some time 'till 
matters are so settled in America that I may know what 
I am about when I come there, I should be much flattered 
if that State, to the individuals of which I gave commis- 
sions & honors when I commanded it as a Colony, would 
in return send me over a commission of L fc General ; that 
having no rank from my native country, I may appear in 
Europe in my American rank, which I will be proud of, & 
will not dishonor. I wish you to feel the ground & try 
if this be practical, &, if it be, to gett it proposed ; but 
not to committ me on uncertainties. Many happy New 
Years to you & may every good omen attend my good 
wishes to the State. 

Your obliged & affectionate friend. 

t.. , - T. POWNALL. 

Direct for me : 

To John Pownall, Esq r , Abingdon Street, Westminster, 

I leave him, my brother, my agent in my absence, & 
my executor in case of my decease. 


Dedham, Decern. 13 th , 1783. 

Dear Sir, — I wished for an hours conversation with 
you before your departure, and had not the circumstances 

* Samuel Dexter, father of the eminent lawyer and statesman of the same name, was the 
eldest son of Rev. Samuel Dexter of Dedham, where he was born March 16, 1726. Unlike 


of my family required that I should directly go out of 
town, I should have gone with pleasure to the Hon ble M r 
Bowdoin's, when you invited me the last time I saw you. 
Persuaded as I am, and have ever been, of your having 
exerted yourself to serve your country, and full of 
indignation at the pretenders to patriotism who have 
endeavoured to blast your character, I have thought 
it my duty, on all occasions, by word & writing, as far 
as I could, to counteract their rascally designs. I think 
I can already perceive some relentings in those who were 
led by these designing men to suspect your integrity. I 
pitied them before, when they, without exercising the 
little judgment they had of their own, suffered them- 
selves to be duped by such as pretended to be able to 
investigate characters so much above their reach. Sulli- 
van, whose knowledge, such as it is, is confined to the 
dry study of the law, and another, whose studies ought 
to have been more limited than they have been to 
theology, and the first magistrate* who is acquainted 
with no branch of science at all, not even government, 
in which he should have been an adept to have been fit 
for the station he unworthily occupies, and the rest of 
the group, have been far from raising their reputation 
by their malignant endeavours to lessen yours. 

I doubt not you will, by your exertions to serve 
America respecting their commercial interests, which 
from your former important appointments, discharged 
to the entire satisfaction of the public, you are so thor- 
oughly acquainted with, convince any that may be still 

his father and his son, he did not graduate at Harvard College, but engaged in mercantile 
pursuits in Boston, and acquired an ample fortune. He also took an active part in public 
life, and served the State in various capacities. He was much interested in theological 
studies, and rejected the popular Calvinistic doctrines. At his death he left a bequest to 
Harvard College for the encouragement of Biblical criticism. He died at Mendon, Mass., 
June 10, 1810. See Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. ii. p. 161; Quin- 
cy's History of Harvard Universit} 7 , vol. ii. pp. 296-298; Biographical Sketch by Rev. 
Carlton A. Staples, in Dedham Hist. Register, vol. iii. pp. 45-60. — Eds. 

* The persons referred to are identified in a note in a contemporary handwriting as Dr. 
Cooper and Hancock. — Eds. 

1783.] SAMUEL DEXTER. 29 

wavering, if any such there are, that your inveterate 
enemies have been actuated, not by a love to their 
country, but from principles the most sordid and selfish. 

Retired as I am and chuse to be from public employ- 
ment, I sincerely wish for the honour & benefit of my 
country to see the day when none but such as are best 
qualified, both by abilities & integrity, shall fill those 
departments which are now possessed by dunces, frib- 
blers, and coxcombs. 

R. T. P. is already or will soon be appointed a Justice 

of the Supreme Court in this Commonwealth ; and S n 

succeeds him as Attorney General, and quits his seat in 
the General Court, because excluded by the Constitution, 
tho' he has held it for some time, when by the same 
Constitution he was inelligible ! This par nobile fratrum, 
who, when you was Surveyor General, were, to say the 
least, among the minor attornies at law, have discovered 
as much zeal against you as any men in the State, from 
motives, which if pure & immaculate, some good judges 
of human nature are greatly mistaken. If any have 
thought favourably of their conduct, yet the time, I trust, 
is speedily approaching when they will be considered as 
willful and malicious slanderers, even by men who have 
applauded them for their patriotism. 

The Prime Minister # now lies sick of a fever, and has 
been thought in so hazzardous a situation that the place 
of worship in Brattle Street was filled on the Monday 
before last with clergymen and others to pray for his 
recovery ; which, if it should take place, it will give him 
an opportunity to be more of a spiritual man and less 
of a politician. 

Although I once had some acquaintance with the 
honourable gentleman, who, I suppose, is now the Amer- 
ican minister at the Court of London, and to whom I 
should be glad to pay my respectful compliments, yet as 

* .Identified in a note in a contemporary handwriting as Dr. Cooper. — Eds. 


I have no pretences for obtruding a letter upon him at 
present, I could wish you would desire him to urge upon 
the Hon ble M. r S. Adams, the preparing, from his manu- 
scripts, sufficient to make a volume or two, to be pub- 
lished in London. I am certain his name would render 
that which has an intrinsic value in itself still more 
valuable in the opinion of multitudes, The bookseller, 
I think, would give a handsome sum for the copy. I 
have had a hint that it has been mentioned to him 
already. He is my old and faithful friend ; and I have 
reason to think (I say it upon my honour,) that he has 
been yours in these uncharitable and uncandid times. 

I had not a thought till I saw the account in the news 
papers, that your lady and daughter were to accompany 
you in your voyage. I sincerely wish you, & those that 
are most dear to you, all imaginable happiness, and am, 
Dear Sir, your most obedient servant. 

Samuel Dexter. 

Hon ble M R Temple. 


Dear Sir, — In your letter I find not less to my 
mortification than my surprize, that the lands which I 
had of so long date destined for Harvard College have 
been sold for default of payment of taxes, although 
I understood the taxes would be paid for me during the 
warr, which was a matter during the warr I could not 
properly engage myself in ; but trusting that y e person 
whoever paid them for me must be sure I w d repay him, 
I concluded they were paid during the ivarr & the very 
moment the warr was over I wrote & sent over a power 
of attorney to you & D r Cooper to make a grant of them 
for me to Harvard College. If they can be recovered to 
the College by my paying the taxes & charges I beg 
that may be done for me & I will repay it, so that the 

1784.] THOMAS POWNALL. 31 

deed of gift to the College may be made as I intended. 
I have besides by my [will ?] left at my decease all my 
printed books to the College & I send the folowing 
[copy ?] of the bequeast that the College may know how 
to act in case of my death : — " Item, I do hereby give & 
bequeath to the President, Fellows & Burser of Harvard 
College in the State Massachusetts Bay in New-England 
as to the representatives for the time being of the said 
College, all my printed books that I am now or shall be 
possessed of at the time of my decease to be delivered by 
my executor, his heirs or assigns, to such person or 
persons in England as the President, Burser & Fellows 
aforesaid shall appoint to receive the same on their part 
for the College aforesaid." 

Be so good to send a copy of this to the College. 

As I imagined at first, so I find now that it will not 
do for me to come to America 'till matters & opinions 
have taken their due course & direction. Having deter- 
mined to quitt England, I shall in spring go to France 
& reside there, waiting — not till the waters of Bethesda 
are moved but on the contrary 'till the waters that have 
been troubled are still, for I love not troubled waters, 
Now I am going to mention a matter of which I am 
doubtfull how it may be understood & received. As I 
shall reside in France k have no rank or honors from my 
native country, I should be proud to owe the rank in 
which I should stand there from the country which I 
hope will one day or other adopt me. As I was once in 
a situation to give rank & honors to individuals of the 
Massachusetts Bay, when I governed it, would not the 
State in return give me the rank of 1} General or Major 
General of the Massachusetts State, from which comis- 
sion I should be proud to take my rank in Europe or 
in France particularly. I will endeavor to do honor to 
it. As this will be only en titre it can neither committ 
the State nor me. Try this ground, my Friend, & if it 


be practical gett my wish proposed ; if not, do not sub- 
ject me to a refusal. Direct for me to my brother, John 
Pownall, Esq r , in Abingdon [Street], West r , London. I 
leave him my agent during my absence & my executor 
in case of my death. 

Your obliged & affe* friend. 

T. Pownall, 

London, Jan. 11, 84 ; in my way to Bath, 'till spring. 


Jan. 15, 1784. 

Dear Sir, — As I have been (as to the employment of 
my service) proscribed by the government of my native 
country for these three & twenty years, since the warr 
made upon America is at an end, and the warr with 
France is succeeded by peace, I mean to stay no longer 
in this country. I cannot but think it best & most pru- 
dent on every account to suspend my idea of coming to 
America 'till some leading current takes its course, for if 
I were to come & find myself mixed amidst contending 
I as a disinterested & dispassionate man should be ill with, 
if not suspected by, both parties. I shall therefore for 
some time go & reside in France. Now as I have no 
publick rank in the world derived from any honors re- 
ceived from my native country, I wish to owe my rank 
in France to & to hold up my head high with the honors 
of the State Massachusetts Bay. When it was a Char- 
tered Province I had the giving of these honors and I 
should hope, nay I almost feel that I merit, to receive 
the like from the Free Republick. If the State will give 
the commission & rank of Lieut. General to their old Cap* 
General, I. shall think myself raised in rank ; I shall be 

* It is doubtful to whom this letter was addressed, though it may have been to Temple. 
There is no address on the outside, and it was probably sent under cover. The letter of 
January 11, to Uowdoin, is marked on the outside as consisting of a single sheet. —Eds. 

1784.] JOHN TEMPLE. 33 

flattered & the State shall not be dishonoured. I putt 
this matter & my wishes intirely into your hands. If 
upon feeling the ground you find it will not do, — don't 
lett me be committed to a refusal. If you find it will do, 
I would wish you to propose it. 

I am, d r Sir, your obliged, faithfull & affec. friend. 

T. Pownall. 

P. S. If this honor is done me I shall in France, & 
also if I should for any time return to England, there 
also wear everywhere the uniform & livery of the State 
that honors me ; should therefore be glad (in case of the 
event taking place) to receive some explanation as to that 
point. If Major General's commission is the highest rank 
they give, I shall be equally proud of that. 

Pray direct to me at Mess rs Drummonds, Bankers, Char- 
ing Cross. Do not write by the packet. 


(Copy to L<1 AValsingham.) 

Pall Mall, 11 March, 1784. 

My Lord, — Dining yesterday with some of the West 
India merchants & planters, I w r as informed of the procla- 
mation now about to appear, granting permission for 
American vessells, to the size of only eighty tons bur- 
den, to trade with the sugar colonies in the West Indias, 
and also of the application made to government by Lord 
Penryn in behalf of the West Indians, together with my 
Lord Sydney's reasons for limiting the intercourse to such 
small vessells. You will, in my opinion, my Lord, do 
essential service to the ministry by attending to this 
business before such a proclamation appears, which, I 

* Thomas de Grey, 2d Baron Walsingham, born July 14, 1748; died Jan. 16, 1818. 
At the time this letter was written Lord Walsingham had been recently appointed one of 
the Committee of the Privy Council for Trade and Foreign Plantations. — Eds. 



am confident, would do more hurt to this country, and 
create more ill-humor in the United States, than if noth- 
ing at all was for the present to be done in the matter. 
After a war between two countries, measures that make 
the first impression are much to be considered & attended 
to, in order to create good humor, confidence, and a last- 
ing peace. The sensible & judicious part of the United 
States are already astonished at the impolitic ideas enter- 
tained & published in this kingdom concerning the inter- 
course between the two countries. Why would it not be 
best for the proposed limitation (if there must be a limi- 
tation to gratify such ill informed, wrong-headed men as 
Lord Sheffield & his employers) to extend to all vessells 
of single decks up to 150 tons burden ? Such vessells 
seldom or ever bring sugars to Europe, which it seems is 
the great objection here made to an open trade : & sup- 
pose there sh d casually such a vessell come to England 
freighted with sugar, the vessell would be here sold, as 
hath always been customary, to pay for British manufac- 
tures ; & the American seamen who navigated her would 
be here discharged & become mariners in English employ. 
Seeing the commerce between the two countries as I do, 
& from long experience as a public man on both sides the 
Atlantic, I will submit to be called an idiot if the trade 
is not entirely laid open by Parliament before the revo- 
lution of another year. In the mean time sh d the proposed 
proclamation appear very ill impressions would be made 
by it in America, & your rivals for the trade & friendly 
intercourse with those States are as attentive as possible 
to avail themselves of every mistaken policy of this coun- 
try. In a word, such acts & proclamations would, as M r 
Bowdoin of Boston (no enemy to this country) says in a 
late letter to me, prove mere acts of alination. The idea 
suggested by M r Pitt last spring or summer for a com- 
mercial intercourse was highly pleasing to the United 
States, as calculated to unite the two countries in bonds 

1784.] JOHN TEMPLE. 35 

of lasting friendship & commerce. Sensible men in that 
country were of but one opinion concerning his plan, which 
they thus expressed, — " that young statesman has hit the bird 
in the eye I " I sincerely wish his original idea may be 
adopted, & that too as soon as possible, and am, my Lord, 
Your most obedient servant. 

J. Temple. 

R T Hon. Lord Walsingham. 



Pall Mall, 12 March, 84. 

My Lord, — Yesterday I hastily gave you my thoughts, 
as you desired, upon the commercial intercourse between 
the American States & the British sugar colonies ; and 
the more I think of the matter, the more I am astonished 
at the objections made to that trade's being laid open, as 
it would beyond all doubt be for the mutual advantage 
of both countries. Every measure that may at this time 
appear narrow or higgling on the part of this country must 
be peculiarly detrimental to the re-establishment of that 
friendship, confidence, & commerce so much wished for by 
the sensible and wel-disposed on both sides the Atlantic. 

I cannot consider the pamphlet written by Lord Sheffield 
in any other light than purposely to keep up ill humor 
between the two countries; & perhaps with design to 
embarrass & impede the measures of the present minis- 
ters, who, I understand, are disposed to act liberally upon 
the occasion.* I will in very few words assure you, my 
Lord, I am confident that if wisdom hath, as I hope & 
trust she hath, resumed her seat in this kingdom, Britain 
may still be as closely connected with & derive all the 
real advantages from those States that she did before 
she lost the government of them. You will at once 

* The reference is to Lord Sheffield's famous pamphlet entitled " Observations on the 
Commerce of the American States," of which the first edition was published in 1783, and 
the sixth edition in 1784. A copy of the first edition is in the Library of the Historical 
Society. — Eds. 


understand me ; but, upon this subject, the ministry 
will no doubt obtain ample information from General 
Sir Guy Carleton, lately arrived from America; as the 
opportunities he has had of getting at the true state 
of affairs in that country have been great, and as his 
character is established in good sense & integrity, they 
will, no doubt, duely attend to his sentiments. Matters 
are now at trial. If Britain by injudicious fears, vission- 
ary apprehensions, or continued procrastination, looses the 
opportunity that offers, her enemies will most assuredly 
avail themselves of the neglect. 

Inclosed is a Boston paper sent me by the last ship 
from thence ; it will in some measure shew you the idea 
now prevailing in the four New England States concern- 
ing an intercourse between them and the dominions of 
Great Britain. Thus have I written, my Lord, as you 
desired, because I sincerely wish that the present men in 
power may be a successf ull & an happy ministry both for 
themselves & their country, and am, my Lord, 
Your most obedient 

J. Temple. 

' Rt Hon. Lord Walsingham. 


(Copy to Sir Guy Carleton.) 

Pall Mall, June 1 st , 1784. 

Sir, — A ship is this morning arrived from Boston ; 
by her I have letters from my friends in the New Eng- 
land States up to the 24 th of April, all of them urgent 

* Guy Carleton was born at Strabane, in Ireland, Sept. 3, 1724, and entered the army in 
his eighteenth year. Rising by slow degrees, he served under General Amherst at the siege 
of Louisbourg in 1758. After further active service he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor 
of Quebec in 1766. There he served, with some intervals, till near the close of the Revolution- 
ary War, when he was appointed to succeed Sir Henry Clinton as Commander-in-Chief in 
America. After the evacuation of New York he returned to England. In 1786 he was 
again appointed Governor of Quebec and made Baron Dorchester. He did not finally leave 
Canada until July, 1796. He died Nov. 10, 1808. See Dictionary of National Biography, 
vol. ix. pp. 93-95. — Eds. 

1784.] JOHN TEMPLE. 37 

upon me to remain no longer here in a state of uncer- 
tainty with regard to what concerns me personally. The 
only thing I stipulated with my friends and connections 
in those States before I came away, was that I would re- 
main but a very short time in England without a decisive 
answer to what I had to propose ; and you will remember, 
it was the only favor I asked, if I may not say stipu- 
lated with you in our correspondence while in America, 
that you would endeavour to obtain for me on your 
arrival such decisive answer from the ministry. I have 
not, nor do I mean to solicit any favors from England. 
A fair proposition has been made, and made as I think & 
certainly ment, in a frank & explicit manner. The minis- 
try are to judge whether it be, or be not, for the national 
interest to comply with it. In consequence of your ap- 
plication for the purpose, I have had the honor of an in- 
terview with Mr. Pitt. He was manly & candid upon the 
general state of affairs in America, but I have learn'd 
nothing decisive with regard to myself. By my letters 
from the Northern States, I find that the interests of this 
country are suffering there, far beyond what the ministry 
seem to suppose, or than even what I had myself appre- 
hended. I am sorry for it, but it would be imprudent in 
me, it would be unwise & unjust to both myself & my 
connections, (whatever my inclination or wishes may 
be tow T ards England) to let my own interest suffer in 
America with those of this country by remaining here any 
longer without any kind of advantage to myself. The 
passing moments with regard to America are (no man 
better knows than yourself) both critical & important and 
particularly so with regard to myself. All the American 
ministers are now called home, or, which is the same 
thing, have leave to return. Jay sail'd last week for New 
York. Laurens sails this week for that country. Adams 
is making preparation for his departure ; and Franklin, 
old as he is, is, I understand, determined to undertake a 


voyage, with the Marquis La Fayette & Count La Vail* to 
America, where, England having hitherto, in my humble 
opinion, neglected the field of sound policy, France, with- 
out any active rival, has the ball very much before her. 
May I therefore request of you, Sir, that you will, by a 
few lines to the minister, solicit a definitive answer to 
the proposition made to him ? for I have already been too 
long in a state of uncertainty here in England, where I 
have no business of my own to detain me an hour after 
this matter is determined. M r J. Bowdoin in one of his 
last letters requests the favor that his compliments may be 
acceptable to you, and I am, with great esteem & respect, 
Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant. 

J. Temple. 

Lieu t General Sir Guy Carleton, K. B. 

The Hon. Tho* Pownall, Esq-. Boston ' Au ^ 21 > 1784 ' 

Dear Sir, — I have had y e pleasure of y r letters of 
y e 9 th ofDec r & 11 th Jan y . 

The parts of them w ch respected Harvard College, and 
y e clause of your will bequeathing to y e College your 
library, I communicated to the Presid* and Corporation, 
and I am authorized to transmit to you their grateful 
acknowledgments for the generous bequest ; and also for 
your intended donation of your Pownalborough land. I 
am sorry to tell you that what I informed you I had 
heard respecting the sale of that land is a real fact. The 
land was sold in 1780 for the non-payment of taxes, and 

* The two most popular French officers that were in America during the late war. 

t This letter was first printed in the Proceedings, vol. v. pp. 246-248. In his History of 
Harvard University, vol. ii. p. 407, President Quincy says that Pownall's proposed founda- 
tion of a professorship " proved altogether ineffectual." " The lands had, during the Amer- 
ican war, without his knowledge, been sold for taxes, and after great trouble and expense in 
redeeming and getting possession of them, the produce of their sale but little exceeded three 
hundred dollars." The books referred to in Pownall's letters, ante, pp. 27, 31, do not appear 
to have been received by the College. — Eds. 

1784.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 39 

y e time of redemption expired in April or May, 1783. 
Application was made about it to y e purchaser, one Chris- 
tophers, who insisting on very unreasonable terms, the 
Presid* & Corporation presented a memorial to the Gen 1 
Court on y e subject. This brought Christophers to Boston, 
and occasioned several conferences upon it between them 
& him, w ch finally issued in an agreement to pay him 300 
Span doll rs , equal to £67.10 sterling, which accordingly 
has been paid to him by y e College Treasurer. As y° fee 
of y e land had legally passed to Christophers, this was y e 
best bargain that could be made with him. I am author- 
ized by your letter of y e 11 th Jan y to pay y e taxes and 
charges for you and draw on you for y e amount. But os 
the money paid for y e recovery of the land exceeds that 
amount by <£40, 1 did not think myself warranted to draw 
on you for it without your expressed approbation. 

With respect to the commission of 1/ or Major General, 
I consulted with several confidential friends on y e subject, 
the L* Gov r (& he with y e Gov r ) M r Adams, M r Osgood, a 
member of Congress & of our House of Rep s , and several 
other gentlemen of both houses, who all expressed a great 
regard for you, and some of them from personal knowl- 
edge. Your political character while Governour here and 
since made them wish to give some honourable mark of 
their esteem, and particularly to distinguish you from y e 
Governours which succeeded you ; and they could not 
think of any way of doing it more likely than by such a 
commission which they would use their influence to obtain. 
Thus far the business seemed to be in a good train ; but 
by after-conversations on y e subject, it appeared that ob- 
jections were made, that y e law had limited to three the 
number of Major Generals (no superior commissions ex- 
cept the Governour's having been conferred) and their 
commissions had been issued ; that those commissions and 
all our other military commissions must have respect to 
the militia of y e State; that to grant such a commission 


to y e subject of a foreign state w d be inconsistent with 
good policy ; and altho' meerly honourary, it would be a 
precedent which w d encourage & justify the subjects of 
France of a distinguished character and subjects of other 
foreign states, in applying for like commissions, the 
granting or refusal of which might involve the State in 
disagreeable consequences ; &c, &c. 

These objections induced us to think it probable that a 
motion in either house for such a commission, however 
well supported, would fail of success. It was therefore 
determined eligible that the motion should be postponed ; 
especially as it was your wish, that we w d not " commit 
you on uncertainties." However, if the objections can 
be obviated, it will give me real pleasure to be in any 
degree instrumental in effecting this measure to your 
satisfaction. You mention you had sent me thro the 
hands of M r Adams one of your pamphlets directed to 
the Sovereigns of America ; but I have not yet rec d it. I 
have had one from another gentleman, and have read it 
with pleasure. There are observations in it which merit 
the consideration of Congress & the United States ; and 
to which I hope they will pay due attention. 

With y e most affectionate regards, I have the honour 
to be, Sir, ^ Yr m0 obt hbla gert 


Pall Mall, Tuesday Morn., 
August 31, 17S4. 

Dear Sir, — I have this instant received your letter of 
the 29 th from Farnham ; but have not heard a word from 

* Our late associate R. C. Winthrop, Jr., has indorsed this letter in pencil "To 
Bishop of Winchester ?" The Bishop of Winchester at the time the letter was written 
was Brownlow North, a half-brother of Frederick, Lord North ; and while the reference to 
Farnham might suggest that the Bishop was the person addressed, it seems more probable 
that the letter was written to George Rose, who had not long before become a supporter 
of Mr. Pitt, and had been made Secretary to the Treasury. See Dictionary of National 
Biography, vol. xli. pp. 146, 147 ; vol. xlix. pp. 226-230. — Eds. 

1784.] JOHN TEMPLE. 41 

M r Pitt since I was with him about three weeks ago ; 
altho' he then assured me, as he did at the first interview 
I had the honor of having with him, that in a very few 
days I sh d hear again from him. 

Is it not almost infatuation that a business so plain 
as that on which I came to England at the instance of 
the Commander in Chief abroad sh d remain so long 
unfinished? Is it possible that so reasonable a proposal 
as I have made, concerning myself personally, sh d cause 
government to pause on that account? I asked no more 
in emolument than that I might be fairly repaired the 
injustice done me by the late minister in his mad career 
at ruining the empire &■ thereby to be only as well off 
as those incendiaries, Bernard & Hutchinson, who became 
the willing instruments of such irreparable mischief, to 
be only as well off as I sh d have been had I remained in 
office, when from such reparation, in justice due to my 
family, if I died to-morrow solid & important national 
advantages would undoubtedly result to this country ? 
for I need not tell you, (your late Commander in Chief 
Sir Guy Carleton from personal knowledge, D r Price, M r 
Jackson, Lord Barring ton, Sir Cecil Wray, M r Treco thick, 
Lord Dartmouth, & others, who have been written to on 
the subject, by sincere friends to this country, can inform 
you) that no small part of the United States, particularly 
those of New England, will be established in good or ill 
humour with this government, according to its attention 
to this business I came about, and are now waiting with 
impatience the result of my visit here, where in truth 
I have been too Ions; in a state of uncertainty to be 
consistent with my own personal interest. 

With regard to the policy to be observed by this 
country towards the American States, I have so fully and 
so faithfully given my sentiments upon it, that it is 
unnecessary for me at present to say any thing more, 
further than that I have no inflexible opinions which 


would prevent me, sh d I become a servant of the Crown 
of England, from faithfully & zealously entering into the 
measures of my superiors in government. When I do 
place a confidence in any gentleman, it is almost an un- 
limited confidence ; from what I have myself observed, 
& from the character I have heard of him, I have such 
a confidence in M r Kose, & therefore I will enclose you 
an extract of a letter I yesterday received from my Lord 
Temple, with whom I have had since I saw M r Pitt 
some confidential conversation both with regard to his 
own present situation and to mine. His sentiments 
appear to me to be clear, manly, & decided. I wish he 
had, & I hope he soon will have, a share in the executive 
government of this country. 

I intended to have called & to have suggested some 
observations which might be usefull to M r Atkinson, if 
he means to maintain his ground (which is undoubtedly 
good ground) against the incendiary writers in opposition 
to him, but upon consideration, I think it is better for me 
to decline it untill I have the honor to hear from Down- 
ing Street. 

I need not again request that the enclosed extract & 
sentiments concerning it may be confined to your own 

With great esteem I am, dear Sir, 

Your most obedient, humble servant. 

J. Temple. 

Will you do me the favor by return of the post to 
acknowledge the receipt of this letter, as I shall not be 
perfectly easy till I know it hath not miscarried. 


Pall Mall, March the 7 th , 1785. 

My dear Father, — It is long, very long, since I did 
myself the honour of writing to you \ a fear of being 

1785.] MRS. JOHN TEMPLE. 43 

troublesome and a diffidence of affording you entertain- 
ment have been my reasons ; and particularly as I have 
never omitted writing to my mother by every opportun- 
ity, it has seemed unnecessary for me to trouble you 
with a repetition of my poor ideas. I cannot now resist 
the desire of acquainting my dear papa that the last 
Tuesday's Gazzett announced M r Temple's appointment,* 
and on Friday he kiss'd hands, as I am sure he partici- 
pates with a truely parental heart with us at the smiles 
of Fortune ; we have indeed tasted deep of the bitter 
cup, but it has taught experience ; we mean only to sip 
gentlely of the sweet, and nurse her smiles. Honesty is 
the best policy, a proverb truely verified in my hus- 
band, — he has suffered for it ; he is now rewarded for it. 
We cannot yet say when we shall embark, but I do 
suppose it will be the last of April or the beginning of 
May. We are however making every necessary prepara- 
tion for our voyage. M r Temple met w T ith a very eligant 
little writing table which we both thought would please 
you from its lightness, neetness, & conveniency, and 
he thinks it will not be less acceptable for having been 
the great Earl of Chatham's. It was sold with some 
other things of his that came from Hays at his brokers. 
Cap 1 Scott has taken it under his particular charge ; I 
have put into the drawers all the late papers. I w T ish I 
had some news to amuse my dear papa ; but the truth is 
that my poor head is almost bereft of the little sense it 
had by the continual noise; one party crying Fox for 
ever — the other No Fox. On Friday the scrutiny for 
Westminster ended, the high bailiff made his return, 
when M r Fox was found to be one of the members. His 
mob therefore assembled, obliged every body to light 
their houses, and on Saturday night the same ; not con- 
tent with this, they have this day drawn him in his car- 
riage without horses to the House of Commons, and as 

* As Consul General for Great Britain in the United States. — Eds. 


soon as it was dark every one has been ordered to put 
up candles or have their windows brock ; it is now past 
twelve o'clock, the streets are as full and as noisey as at 
high noon. So much of this noise will put an end to his 
small remains of popularity, as it seems to give a disgust 
even to those who have seem'd to wish him well, for en- 
couraging so much rioting and idleness. I have wrote 
my mother a long letter; my best affections to her, in 
which I am joind by M r Temple and in duty ful respects 
to you; and I beg you will believe me, my dear Father, 
Your duty ful and affectionate daughter. 

E. Temple. 

I have put into Betsey's drawers a box of very excellent 
corn salve which has a very great reputation here. 


My d e S r , — In due time I rec d your favor, and am 
satisfyd that your silence did not proceed from any 
neglect of or indifference to the point I sollicited you 
upon.t You certainly must be the best judge of the 
most probable means for succeeding, and in that opinion 
I was perfectly easy as to the mode. I am giad that the 
subject of my suit does not appear unreasonable to you, 
and I would feign hope that success would consequently 
attend it, not that success is always the attendant of even 
the most reasonable suits, but at any rate you have my 
most sincere thanks ; and believe me when I assure you, 
that your success in your own application will always 
give me infinitely more pleasure than a refusal in mine 
would give uneasiness. I felt for your situation & am 

* Dr. Robert Emmet was an eminent physician in Dublin ; but he is now best known as 
the father of two more distinguished sons, Thomas Addis Emmet, who died in New York, 
in 1827, and Robert Emmet, who was executed for high treason in 1803. See Dictionary 
of National Biography, vol. xvii. pp. 302-364. — Eds. 

t Dr. Emmet had written to Temple with reference to obtaining an increased salary as 
" State Physician " in Dublin. — Eds. 

1785.] ROBERT EMMET. 45 

really happy that you are at last honorably provided for 
and independant. May no cloud darken the sunshine 
of remaining life. I have mentiond what you desird 
to Capt. Fenton # whose waspish father is freed from the 
cares of this life, and has left his two daughters without 
sixpence to provide a loaf of bread. What can be done 
for them I do not well know, but as the father sub- 
stantiated claims upon government to a very consider- 
able amount, possibly moderate pensions may be obtaind 
for them on a dereliction of their proportion of their 
claims. Something in this way is all that at present 
occurrs to my son or me to be done for them, but any 
assistance in our powers they certainly shall not want. 
I take the liberty of enclosing herewith a letter for my 
second son, who will be in London I believe about the 
time this may reach you. I shall not say any thing in 
his favor, more than he hitherto has never damp'd my 
most sanguine expectations. Few parents can look with 
the contented pride and satisfaction which I do on both 
my grown up sons, and the young one seems to stand 
as fair for honorable fame, if I may judge of a child's 
talents. Temple you know, and I tell you with pleasure 
that he is on the high ground of his profession, lov'd and 
esteem' d by every one who knows him ; and I have had 
the same character of Tom from Scotland. I must like- 
wise add in justice to my third son, Grenville (for tho he 
is your heir, I cannot help in some measure calling him 
my third, son) that he will I trust one day make as great 
a figure in his country as Temple will in Ireland ; and he 
will then I think be the first lawyer in America. Adieu, 
present my affec 1 regards to M rs Temple. It is hard, me- 
thinks, that M r Jackson, Tracy and [illegible] nephew 
John should come to Ireland to take passage for America, 

* Capt. John Fenton married Elizabeth, a younger sister of John Temple. See Boston 
Rec. Com. Rep., vol. xxx. p. 16; N. E. Gen. and Hist. Reg., vol. x. p. 75; 2 Proceedings, 
vol. viii. p. 413. — Eds. 


and you will do it from England. If your ship should 
touch at Cork, will you give me the pleasure of at least 
seeing you ? Could you not regulate matters so as to 
come to Ireland and be ready when the ship you are to 
go out in should call at Cork to embark ? but I am wish- 
ing, I fear, in vain. Adieu again, may you be always 


Yours very sincerely. 

Rob t Emmet. 

Dublin, April 17, 1785. 



Gentlemen op the Senate, and Gentlemen of 
the House of Representatives : 

You having done me the honour of electing me to the 
office of chief magistrate of the Commonwealth, I take 
this opportunity of declaring my acceptance of it. 

I have a due sense of the honour you have conferred, 
and shall express it more fully as soon as may be after 
the complete organization of the government. 

I have understood, Gent n , that several things have, 
with great assiduity, been suggested to the disadvantage 
of my political character; and particularly, that I am 
under British influence. The other suggestions (so far 
as I have heard of them) are of little importance ; but 
this is of such a nature that I find myself obliged to take 
some notice of it. I would therefore observe, that an 
honest man, whose character as such I am conscious be- 
longs to me, cannot take the oath of office required by 
the constitution and at the same time be under such 
an influence. 

That oath was deemed a sufficient guard against the 
influence suggested, and my taking it may satisfy you 
there was no ground for the suggestion. But, Gentle- 
men, as it is essential to the good of the Commonwealth, 

1785.] RICHARD PRICE. 47 

that the people at large and the General Court in par- 
ticular should have a firm trust and confidence in the 
integrity of their first magistrate, my duty to them and 
to my own character requires that I should explicitly 
declare at my first entering upon that important office, 
and I do accordingly declare, that I never have been, 
that I am not, and (so far as a man can affirm in regard 
to his future conduct) that I will not be, under any 
foreign influence whatever ; but on the contrary that 
the whole of my administration shall in every respect 
according to my best knowledge and ability be conducted 
by the principles of the constitution. 

Though this declaration may be unnecessary with 
regard to you, Gentlemen, as I am sure it is in regard 
to those who are fully acquainted with my political 
principles and character, it may notwithstanding be 
proper in reference to the good people of the Common- 
wealth in general ; especially as the suggestions above- 
mentioned have been very widely disseminated. 

I am now ready, Gentlemen, to take the oaths of office 
pursuant to the requisitions of the constitution. 

Senate Chamber, May 27, 1785. 


Sir, — I received with particular satisfaction your kind 
note and the copy printed at Boston of my pamphlet on 
the American Revolution. Your attention to me in this 
instance does me great honour and deserves my best 
thanks. I commit to Providence this attempt to assist 
the United States in making such an improvem* of their 
present situation as may render it a blessing to them and 
to the world. I may be mistaken in many points; but I 
am conscious of having no other intention than to pro- 

* For a notice of Dr. Price and a large collection of letters to him, see 2 Proceedings, 
vol. xvii. pp. 262-378. — Eds. 


mote according to the best of my judgm t the best inter- 
ests of society. There has been lately an edition of this 
pamphlet publish' d in London with a translation of M r 
Turgot's letter and some other additions. I have sent a 
few copies of this edition to Boston by M r Jackson, who, 
probably, will be arrived there long before this letter can 
reach you, which is to be convey' d in a packet directed to 
two brothers of the name of Lewis, who have for some 
time resided at Boston and carried on the business of 
linnen-drapers there. I am informed that these two 
young men are on account of their coming immediately 
from Hallifax suspected to be Tories and refugees. But 
no suspicion can be more unjust. There are few families 
with which I have been so long and so well acquainted. 
The father was a dissenting minister in this country of 
the best character and principles. He left six sons and a 
daughter who, I believe, are all of them virtuous and 
worthy and zealous friends to civil and religious liberty 
and American independence. The daughter has a large 
family and makes a valuable part of rny congregation. 
I hope you will have the goodness to excuse me for 
mentioning these particulars. I mean nothing but to 
prevent two honest men from suffering by a ground- 
less suspicion ; and my principal intention in this letter 
is to convey to you my grateful acknowledgm ts of the 
notice you have taken of me, and to assure you that, 
with great respect and all good wishes, I am, S r , 
Your very obed* and humble serv*. 

Rich d Price. 

Newington-Green, near London, May 31 st , 1785. 

I have just seen M rs Temple. I find that it is probable 
that you have now received the highest testimony of 
approbation that can be given by the voice of a free 
people. Should this be the case, I hope } r ou will par- 
don the impropriety in my manner of addressing you 
and accept my sincere congratulations. 

1785.] ROBERT EMMET. 49 


My dr S r , — Having rec d a letter a few posts ago from 
Tom informing me that a recommendation had been made 
to M r Orde by the minister's desire in ray favor, I thought 
it would be but right to inform M r Orde of the nature of 
my suit, in order to his being qualifyd to comply with 
that recommendation. I accordingly waited upon him 
yesterday with a memorial for his Grace of Rutland,* 
stateing all the particulars which I had before men- 
tioned to you, and submitting to his justice and dig- 
nity the propriety of encreasing my salary. In the 
course of conversation wherein nothing definite passd 
Mr. Orde asked me whether a son of yours did not live 
with me, and mention'd his having been recommended to 
liis notice by a letter from you and two or three other 
friends in England, but did not say one word of any man- 
ner of recommendation on the subject I was then address- 
ing for, which I own surprizd me as I thought it would be 
very natural for him on such an occasion to have said 
" that he had been written to on it, and would with 
pleasure, or was sorry that he could not, forward my 
suit," and I thought it but proper to intimate the 
point to you, least possibly in the very great and un- 
avoidable hurry which M r Rose has been for some time 
precipitated in, he may have forgotten, or inattentively 
express' d the nationally immaterial matter of my suit, 
which however is to me of very great consequence, being 
the intended allowance for the poor young physician whose 
name I have had the good luck of having inserted in the 
patent with mine thro the goodness of the Marquis of 
Buckingham. I am therefore to request your hinting M r 
Orde's not having mentiond any thing of the recommen- 

* Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, was, when this letter was written, Lord Lieu- 
tenant of Ireland ; and Thomas Orde was Chief Secretary. Dr. Emmet held the appoint- 
ment of physician to the Lord Lieutenant. — Eds. 



dation if you think proper so to do to M r Rose — other 
wise not. All my family join in respectfull comp s to you 
and M rs Temple, with y r very affec* 

Rob t Emmet. 

June 2, 1785. 

M r Orde has sent a card of invitation for Grenville to 
dine with him next Sunday. 


We the subscribers, Merchants and Traders in the 
Town of Boston, beg leave to congratulate your Ex- 
cellency, while we felicitate our country, upon your 
appointment to the office of Chief Magistrate in this 

As a people we are by no means in an eligible situa- 
tion ; our finances are deranged, our commerce exposed, 
and our government has not yet acquired that degree of 
energy and of dignity which is essentially necessary to 
our national happiness. Thus circumstanced, we cannot 
but be highly pleased at your being placed at the head of 
government, since from the exercise of wisdom, prudence, 
industry, ceconomy, and those other virtues which you so 
eminently possess, we may reasonably hope for the most 
happy effects, as well upon our habits and manners as a 
people as upon the general state of our public affairs. 

But we esteem it a peculiar felicity that in the present 
alarming state of our commerce, we have for our Gov- 
ernor a gentleman who cannot fail to sympathize with 
us at the gloomy prospect of our declining trade, and who 
we doubt not will chearfully make every exertion in his 
power to render us again respectable as a commercial 

Sensible that you are now placed in a very arduous 
and important station, and desirous of rendering its du- 




ties easy to yourself and beneficial to the public, we shall 
on every occasion with chearfulness and alacrity give you 
the utmost assistance in our power. 

May your health and your usefulness to this people be 
long continued, and may you ever enjoy, not only the 
high satisfaction which results from a conscious integrity 
and rectitude of conduct, but the rational applause of a 
grateful people. 

Jacob Williams 
Samuel Brown 
Crowell Hatch 
Thom s L. Winthrop 
Nathaniel Gorham 
Tho s Hichborn 
Mungo Mackay 
John Marston 
Joseph Head 
W M Gray 
Herman Brimmer 
John Bromfield 
Thomas Dennie 
John Hurd 
Chambers Russell 
Elisha Doane 
Tim° Newell 
Jn° Andrews 
Jon'h Austin 
W M Breck 
Henry Jackson 
Isaiah Doane 
Tristram Coffin 
William Parsons 
Daniel Sargent 
Martin Brimmer 
Joseph Barrell 

W M Phillips 
Ebenezer Storer 
Edward Payne 
Will. Powell 
Leo : Jarvis 
Sam l Breck 
Sam l Barrett 
John Coffin Jones 
Eben Parsons 
W M Foster 
Charles Sigourney 
Jon a Mason 
Dan. Hubbard 
D D Sears 
Thomas Lee 
Samuel Conant, Jr 
John Codman, Jun 
W M Smith 
Rob t M c Neill 
William Phillips, jun 1 
Isaac Smith 
Timothy Fitch 
Stephen Bruce 
John Erving, Ju b 
Nehemiah Somes 
Joseph Coolidge 
Elisha Turner 

52 the bowdoin and temple papers. [1785. 

Will. Shattuck Samuel Parkman 

Shrimpton Hutchinson Jon a Jackson 

John Wheelwright Edward Davis 

Joseph Russell, Jun John Browne 

Job Prince Stephen Higginson 

Sam. A. Otis Sam. Swan 

Sam. Bradstreet Sam l Eliot 
Joseph Foster 

To his Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r . 
Boston, June 4, 1785. 

address to governor bowdoin. 

Boston, 7* June, 1785. 
To his Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r , &c, &c. 

May it please your Excellency : 

We the Committee of Tradesmen & Manufacturers 
of the Town of Boston do in their names congratulate 
your Excellency on your appointment to the chief seat 
of government. 

It affords us the highest pleasure at this interesting 
period, that a gentleman is placed at the head of the 
Commonwealth who is so particularly acquainted with 
the interest of this country, & on whose wisdom, integ- 
rity, & decision we can so confidently rely. 

Your Excellency's disposition to encourage the manu 
factures of this country (the embarrassed state of which 
lias not escaped your notice) gives us* the most pleasing 
expectation of your patronage & support ; & we antici- 
pate the fond idea that measures will soon be adopted by 
this State fully adequate to the removal of the difficulties 
under which we at present labour. 

The unanimity which so generally prevails throughout 
the several branches of the Legislature we conceive a 
happy presage to produce those national blessings, so 




earnestly desired by every sincere friend to the inde- 
pendance of America. 

May your administration be happy, may union & 
stability prevail in all our public councils, & may your 
Excellency by a faithfull discharge of the important 
duties of your station ever receive the warmest ac- 
knowledgements of the people over whom you preside. 

Sam l Jarvis 
Robert M c Elroy 
Jn° Skinner 
Barnab 5 Webb 
Jeffrey Richardson 
Joseph Lovering 
W: Frobisher 
Eben r Foster 
Moses Ring 
And w Newell 
Matt w Clark 

John Gray 
Gibbins Sharp 
George Lush 
Samuel Barrett 
Benj' Austin, jun: 1 
Sarson Belcher 
William Hawes 
Joshua Witherle 
Sam l Bangs 
James Wakefeild 
Gawen Brown 
John Dyer 
John B. Gould 
Jon a Kettell 


My d r S e , — Yesterday I rec d your very friendly favor 
encloseing a coppy of your letter to M r Orde, for which 
you have my most gratefull acknowledgments, whether 
it shall be productive or not the wish of a friend and the 
affection of a kinsman are obvious in it, & intention, is 
what I chiefly look to in all human transactions ; the 
event being wholly in the disposal of a higher power. 
Accept my thanks again, and were I to sollicit another 
favor from you, it would be your enabling me to pay 
them personally to you in Ireland. Surely a week might 


be dedicated to seeing your nieces and kinsmen who can- 
not go to see you; of Grenville I say nothing, as he is 
not so circumstanc'd, but surely you may see him to as 
much advantage in Ireland as in England, and your jaunt 
here, accompanyd by M rs Temple (for without her, we 
one and all object to your comeing) would not be much 
more expensive than his going to England and return 
home. Do seriously consider it, and if you conveniently 
can comply, do not refuse what would give such real 
pleasure to so many friends. Three days brings you to 
the Head; eight or ten hours to Dublin, and in Dublin a 
friend's house and warmest wellcome shall receive you, 
without sixpence expence. Prithee try and oblige in this 
one instance. As to my young Doct r who I believe 
troubles you every day — I have sent a pacquet for him 
which I shall beg of you to deliver, and the contents of 
which I need not mention as he undoubtedly will make 
you acquainted with it. The oddity of it may make you 
laugh ; if it does so much the better. 'T was the whim 
of a moment, if worth trying to realize he may do it ; if 
not he may let it resolve into its primitive transiency, 
and end there. Your nieces Fenton must feel extremely 
obligd by the very active part which you have taken in 
trying to procure an independence for them. It may not 
equal their expectations and fall very farr short of their 
wishes ; but it is a great deal to be put above wretched- 
ness and dependence, the only legacies their father could 
leave them ; and you have been a most affectionate par- 
ent in procureing it for them. May your wishes to serve 
your friends be productive of such events in your own 
favor as to make assistance of friends scarcely necessary 
to you or yours. 

I am, my d r S r , with very great regard, 

Affec y yours. 

Eob t Emmet. 

Dublin, June 7, 1785. 



New York, June 20 th , 1785. 

Sir, — Whenever any event takes place which tends 
greatly to promote the true interests of the Common- 
wealth of Massachusetts, my affection for her will not 
permit me to refrain from expressing sentiments of the 
most sincere satisfaction. Among the many instances 
which have inspired me with gratitude to Heaven for a 
favorable interposition, there are a few of that impor- 
tance that they will never fail to make the deepest im- 
pressions on my mind. 

The surrender of the British army at Saratoga. 

The approbation of the good people of Massachusetts 
of the frame of government that was proposed to them. 

The termination of the late war in the acknowledge- 
ment of the independence of the United States of Amer- 
ica ; & a treaty of peace much more favorable than many 

These were great & happy events. And permit me, 
Sir, to add one to the number which must afford every 
virtuous man sincere pleasure, because it is an evidence 
of the wisdom & virtue of the Commonwealth, which is 
that of your Excellency's appointment to & acceptance of 
the chair of government. 

Notwithstanding the limitation of power, yet your 
Excellency will have a great opportunity of displaying 
the true principles of a virtuous republican patriot, by a 
uniform adherence to the spirit of our excellent constitu- 
tion, which I am sure will be adopted by you as a rule 
not to be varied from in your administration. 

That plain, unaffected conduct which marked you as 

* Samuel Osgood was born in Andover, Mass., Feb. 14, 1748, graduated at Harvard Col- 
lege in 1770, and died in New York Aug. 12, 1813. He took a very active part in public 
affairs, and filled many important offices under the State and the national government?. 
See Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. iv. p. 600. — £ds. 


one of the most worthy, of the private citizens, because 
it evidenced a disposition not to procure preferment by 
undue means, will be equally valuable in public life, 
where example is frequently productive of the most 
happy consequences. 

Without knowledge & virtue in the people as well as 
their magistrates, a republican government may become 
more oppressive & more dangerous than almost any other 
kind of government. It is therefore sincerely to be 
wished that they may be placed in such an advantageous 
point of light as to render them estimable in the highest 
degree. And I flatter myself that in this view, as in all 
others, your Excellency will be peculiarly instrumental 
in promoting the happiness of the Commonwealth ; and 
in having done this, I doubt not, you will have obtained 
the ultimate object of your wishes. 

I have to request that your Excellency will pardon me 
for intruding thus far ; and that you will believe me to 
be, with sentiments of the greatest respect, 

Your Excellency's most obedient servant. 

Samuel Osgood. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r . 


May it please your Excellency, — 

The Inhabitants of the Town of Newbury Port beg leave 
to express to your Excellency their great satisfaction at 
your promotion to the place of first Magistrate of this 

The critical state of our commerce and the weight of 
public debt that presses us demand the strictest at- 
tention to every commercial and ceconomical principle 
that may extricate us from our embarrassed situation ; 
and it gives us the greatest pleasure to reflect that we 


have by the blessing of Heaven a Governor whose abili- 
ties, integrity, and unremitted attention to the interests 
of the people, will provide every remedy in the power of 
the supreme executive authority of this Commonwealth. 
When we look back to your Excellency's conduct 
during the administrations of the late royal governors, 
at a time when the rights and liberties of the people were 
struggling against the encroachments of ambition and the 
lust of power, when secret influence aided by all the 
douceurs in the gift of royalty was making large strides 
to divide and oppress us ; we find your Excelleney, 
unawed by power, unseduced by the flattering attentions 
of its artful minions, uniformly employed in stemming the 
torrent of corruption and in supporting the priviledges 
and freedom of your country. We cannot therefore but 
view it as an auspicious omen to our fellow citizens, that 
at this time the same gentleman is placed in the chair of 
government, that he may contribute to the preserving 
and continuing of those political blessings he was so greatly 
instrumental in procuring. We hope your Excellency 
will not consider this address as indicating an inclination 
to enjoy the particular attentions of the supreme Magis- 
trate. We know your Excellency too well to expect any 
other advantages from your administration than what we 
shall receive in common with our fellow citizens : and it 
is our own opinion that such advantages only have we a 
right to expect. We are however fully sensible that the 
best administration of the several powers of government 
will not alone render a people happy. They must con- 
tribute to this benevolent design by a steady adherence 
to the principles of piety, religion, and morality : these 
principles ought to be widely diffused and deeply im- 
planted. And it gives us sincere pleasure that the tenor 
of your Excellency's life exhibits a distinguished example 
worthy of our imitation. As the powers with which your 
Excellency is invested by the Constitution are a trust 



delegated by the people, to be employed for their benefit, 
we beg your Excellency to be assured that in the appli- 
cation of them you shall receive from us every assistance 
we can afford you, necessary to render your administra- 
tion honourable to yourself and useful to the public. 
By order and in behalf of the Town, 

Edw d Wigglesworth 1 

M. Hodge 

David Coats 

Will m Coombs 

W M Bartlet 

July 7 th , 1785. 

At a legal meeting of the freeholders & other inhabi- 
tants of the Town of Newburyport, by law quallified to vote 
in Town affairs, held this seventh day of July, A. D. 1785. 

Whereas, the Town at this meeting, have ordered an 
address signed by the Select Men on their behalf to be 
presented to his Excellency the Governor, 

Voted, that Honb 1 Nath 11 Tracy, Theophilus Parsons, 
and Honb 1 Tristram Dalton, Esq rs , be a Committee to 
present the same. 

Attest. M. Hodge, Town Clerk. 


Boston, July 18, 1785. 
His Exc y George Clinton, Esq., 

Gov r of y e State of New York. 

Sir, — The enclosed order of the Legislature of this 
Commonwealth will shew to y r Exc y their sense of the 
proceedings of the Legislature of the State of New York in 
regard to the territory lying to the westward of Hudson's 
river, and claimed by this State. 

* Printed from a rough draught in Bowdoin's handwriting, with numerous interlineations 
and corrections. — Eds. 

1785.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 59 

An attempt by either State to purchase of the natives 
their right in that territory, and to dispose of, grant, or 
settle any part of it, while their respective claims, (sub- 
mitted to the decision of commissioners mutually chosen, 
under the authority of Gongress) remain undecided, would, 
as we conceive, be judged by the States disinterested as 
altogether improper. And the impropriety of such a 
measure in itself considered, but especially considered in 
relation to the confederation, and the principles upon which 
that is bottomed, prevented this State from adopting it. 

Though it appears by the New York newspapers, that 
your Exc y with the other commissioners of the land office 
had returned from Fort Herkimer, having there held a 
treaty with the Oneida and other Indians, in pursuance of 
an act of the Legis. of New York, and accomplished your 
business very successfully, we cannot entertain a thought 
that either your Exc y or your Legislature can intend, or 
will suffer, the cession or grant of lands made to your 
State by those Indians to operate in any respect whatever 
to the disadvantage of this Commonwealth. 

By that Act passed y e 11 th of April last for facilitating 
the settlement of the waste lands claimed to be within 
y e State of New York, it appears that the measures for 
accomplishing that business are to be pursued with great 
dispatch ; and for that purpose that y e Surveyor General 
was directed by it to remove his office by the first of June 
(last) to Albany. 

You will permit me to observe here, that although the 
Legislature of this State have no right to intermeddle in 
matters out of their jurisdiction, yet as your Exc y must 
know or have reason to think that the said Act and the 
proceedings in consequence of it, have respect to a terri- 
tory claimed by this State, they will not incur your cen- 
sure for the order they have passed on y e occasion ; and 
you will think it my duty to request, and accordingly in 
the name and behalf of the Legislature of this State, I 


do request your Excellency, that all proceedings relative 
to those lands may be stayed until the Commissioners 
appointed for the purpose shall have determined the right 
of the two governments in them. 

With the utmost respect, I have the honour to be, Sir, 
Yr. Exc y 's most ob* hble. servant. 


Gentlemen, — - The Address of the Town of Newbury 
Port, conceived in terms so respectful, does me great 

I beg the favour of the Selectmen to signify to the 
Town my grateful acknowledgments for it ; and that 
you, Gentlemen, their worthy Committee, would accept 
my thanks for the polite manner in which it has been 

It is very unfortunate that at a time when the weight 
of the public debt presses heavily upon us our commerce 
should be in so embarrassed a state. This embarrass- 
ment, however, was an effect to be expected from the 
excessive importations that have taken place ; but very 
happily, it will work its own cure, which will be hastened 
by a strict attention to the principles so judiciously 
pointed out by the address. An attention to the same 
principles will also operate to the diminution and final 
discharge of the public debt. I should be happy in 
suggesting means that would in , either case co-operate 
with those principles. 

In the mean time, amidst the embarrassments arising from 
the greatness of that debt, it must give a high satisfaction 
to reflect that it purchased the liberty of our country. 

That liberty and that debt, in circumstances like ours, 
are in our ideas of them necessarily associated ; and the 
latter, however pressing, considered in that association, 
cannot be deemed an evil. 


To every person not wholly destitute of sensibility it 
must give a real pleasure to be assured that his public 
conduct is approved by his countrymen ; especially when 
it has a reference to times and circumstances peculiarly 
difficult and interesting. The assurances now given that 
my past conduct has been thus approved give me the 
highest satisfaction. And it shall be my endeavour in 
the important station in which my countrymen have 
placed me that they shall have no reason to withdraw 
their good opinion. 

The good people of Newbury Port, too generous to 
indulge a monopolizing spirit, wish from administration 
for those advantages only which their fellow citizens in 
general have in common with themselves a right to ex- 
pect. And these, so far as my influence shall extend, 
they certainly shall receive. 

The best administration of government (as they justly 
observe) will not alone render a people happy. They must 
contribute to their own happiness by an adherence to the 
principles recommended in the address. " Those princi- 
ples ought to be," and I wish to see them, " widely dif- 
fused and deeply implanted." 

I thank the Town for the assurances thev have so 


obligingly given that in the application of the powers with 
which I am vested by the Constitution I shall receive 
from them every assistance they can afford, necessary to 
render the administration of government honourable to 
the Governour and useful to the publick. 

On my part it is proper to assure them that as those 
powers were derived from the people to be employed 
for their benefit, the assistance of my brother citizens 
of Newbury Port shall be requested only in cases in 
which the affording it shall conduce to their own hon- 
our and benefit, and to the honour and benefit of the 
Boston, July 22, 1785. 



Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
Boston, July 27, 1785. 

Sir, — I have observd a law passed by the Legislature 
of Connecticut^ whereby a duty is laid on goods im- 
ported into that State from any of the United States,, 
while the same goods are exempted from a duty if im- 
ported into that State from a foreign country. This dis- 
tinction, so manifestly giving a preference to foreigners 
in prejudice to the United States, it is to be feared, may 
be construed as indicating an abatement of that mutual 
affection and good humour which subsisted among them 
in the time of their calamity & distress ; which was in- 
dispensibly necessary while they were jointly struggling 
against common injury, and which will be equally neces- 
sary while they continue, as they at present are, em- 
barkd in the same common interest and exposed to 
common danger. 

By the blessing of Heaven, our united conflict with the 
late invaders of our right hath terminated in independ- 
ence. But should those invaders, who appear not to be 
possessd of that friendly temper which becomes nations 
in amity by solemn treaty, discover a disposition in the 
United States to treat each other as foreigners, and even 
to indulge strangers in benefits of commerce to the ex- 
clusion of each other from an equal share in such bene- 
fits, will they not entertain hopes, & will not those hopes 
be too well grounded, that an undue attachment to sep- 
erate interests in individual States may be productive of 
cold indifference towards each other, of total disregard, 
of jealousy, animosity, and even hatred ? and that in so 
divided and jarring a condition these States may in time 
be subdued with ease, although they were proof against 
the whole strength of their enemies while they continued 
an united band of friends. Experience has taught the 

1785.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 63 

world that friendship among confederated states may be 
dissolved as well as between private men ; in both cases 
the same latent cause may produce the same train of 

But the act above referrd to not only injures in its 
operation the foreign commerce of this Commonwealth, 
but prevents its citizens from vending articles of their 
own manufacture to the citizens of Connecticutt. This 
must be considered as the more exceptionable, inasmuch 
as for the sake of cementing the Union which is the true 
policy of the confederated Commonwealth, our laws exact 
no duties on the manufactures of any of the United States, 
and in regard to commerce their citizens respectively stand 
upon a footing with our own. 

I beg your Excellency to take the subject of this letter 
into your consideration, and if you think proper to com- 
municate the same to the Legislature of Connecticutt. 
I have the honour to be, with unfeigned sentiments of 
friendship & esteem, 

Sir, yr. Exc ys most obed* hble. serv*. 

To his Excellency, 

the Gov of y e State of Connecticut. 



Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
Boston, July 28 th , 1785. 

Sir, — In compliance with the inclosed resolutions of 
the Legislature of this Commonwealth, I transmit for the 
perusal of your Excellency an Act passed in their last 
session for the regulating of Navigation and Commerce. 
This Act is intended as a temporary expedient to prevent 
as far as it is in the power of the Legislature of a single 

* Printed from the original given to the Historical Society in August, 1858, by 
Hon. William Appleton. See Proceedings, vol. iv. pp. 120, 121, where the letter is also 
printed -—Eds. 


State the effects of a system of commercial policy adopted 
by the British government, which, it is conceived, will 
be ruinous to the trade of the United States. That nation 
seems to build her hopes and expectations of carrying 
these plans into execution upon a supposed interference 
of commercial interests among these States, and a mutual 
jealousy arising therefrom, which will render it impracti- 
cable for them to agree to vest Congress with a sufficient 
power to regulate the trade of the United States. But 
such hopes must be grounded upon an antecedent, and, 
I would hope, mistaken opinion that these States in the 
time of their prosperity have lost that sense of honor and 
justice, that mutual feeling of friendship and attachment, 
and above all that public virtue and supreme regard to 
the interest and safety of the whole, which so powerfully 
actuated them in the day of common danger, and which 
will be ever essentially necessary so long as they shall 
continue to be one great confederated commonwealth. 
It highly concerns united sovereign States duly to attend 
to the ruling principles of all well regulated societies; 
and it concerns them the more, because they may 
be more apt than others to forget that the interest of 
individuals must be governed by that of the whole. 

It is much to be desired that Congress may be vested 
with a well guarded power to regulate the trade of the 
United States. This being effected, the Act of our Com- 
monwealth will cease to operate. In the mean time it is 
to be relied on that the mutual friendship and good 
humour of the several States towards each other, their 
sentiments of honour and justice, will be a sufficient pledge 
that when measures wisely calculated to defeat the unjust 
designs of foreigners against the trade or general interest 
of the United States are taken by any individual State 
they may be adopted by all, sothat no one State may be 
left to suffer essentially in its own trade by its laudable 
zeal and exertion for the common safety. 

1785.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 65 

I shall from time to time transmit to your Excellency 
such Acts of the Legislature of this Commonwealth as 
may regard the general interest of the Confederacy, or 
that of your State in particular, and request you to oblige 
me with similar communications. 

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem, 

Your Excellency's most obedient, humble serv\ 

James Bowdoin. 

His Excellency the Governor of the State of Maryland. 


Boston, Aug. 12, 1785. 
Hon ble Benj a Franklin, Esq. 

Dear Sir, — I have the honour of enclosing to you 
several memoirs which about two years ago were read 
to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. You will 
observe they originated from a review of letters and 
papers that had passed between us on philosophical sub- 
jects; and that they contain some observations on a 
paragraph or two of your printed letters. I should need 
to apologize for this liberty, did I not know your liber- 
ality of sentiment ; and that you would wish the improve- 
ment of science, whether the principles from which it 
resulted coincided, or not, with your own. 

Those memoirs will make a part of a volume now 
printing here under the direction of y e Academy. It will 
be completed in a few months, when I shall transmit 
a copy to your Exc y unless I should have, which I ear- 
nestly hope for, an opportunity of presenting it person- 
ally. That hope is grounded on reports of your intention 
to embark soon for America. Wishing you every hap- 
piness, and that I shall soon have the pleasure of taking 



you by the hand, I am, my dear friend, with the most 
affectionate regard, in w ch M rs Bowdoin desires to join 
with me, 

Yr. most ob* hble. serv\ 



Sir, — Being a sincere friend and wellwisher to Mas- 
sachusetts State, notwithstanding the very unmerited 
and very cruel manner in which I have been treated, I 
read with great pleasure that your Excellency, so justly 
distinguished for political knowledge &■ liberal princi- 
ples, was elected Governor & Chief Magistrate of the 

I had the honour to be acquainted with your Excel- 
lency when I resided in Boston & conceived so high 
an opinion of your Excellency's benevolence, generous 
sentiments, and sacred regard for justice that I take the 
liberty to trouble your Excellency, with a plain and 
faithful narrative of my case. I want only common 
justice from the State, and I flatter myself that your 
Excellency will, as a friend to justice & the oppressed, 
cheerfully grant me your friendly advice and assistance in 
my laudable endeavours to recover my rightful property, 
firmly persuaded that it will give your Excellency the 
highest pleasure to assist the injured to obtain that to 
which they have the justest claim both in law and equity. 

I was appointed a Mandamus Counsellor and refused 
the office, being an infringement of the constitution. As 
soon after the battle of Lexington as I could procure a 

* William Vassall was born in the West Indies Nov. 23, 1715, graduated at Harvard 
College in 1733, and died at Battersea Rise, England, May 8, 1800. He was a prominent 
and active citizen while living in America, and the owner of a considerable quantity of 
real estate. He was for many years connected with King's Chapel, and even when living 
in England protested against the ordination of Rev. James Freeman. See N. E. Hist, and 
Gen. Reg., vol. xvii. pp. 115, 116; Sabine's American Loyalists, vol. ii. pp. 384, 385; 
Eoote's Annals of King's Chapel, vol. ii. p. 46 note. — Eds. 


vessel I removed from Boston to Nantucket, and put 
myself under the protection of Massachusetts State. I 
remaind at Nantucket till I found all communication 
was cut off from my estate in Jamaica, the sole property 
I depended on to maintain my family. Then, from ne- 
cessity, I removed to Great Britain, & ever since my 
arrival I have lived on Clapham Common in a retired 
manner, absolutely unconcerned with public affairs. I 
have never done any one thing in the lowest degree 
unfriendly to Massachusetts or any one of the United 
States. I have not violated in any one instance any 
one of the laws of Massachusetts or any one of the 
United States. August 12, 1775, I embarked at Nan- 
tucket for Great Britain, at which time there was no 
law, either of Massachusetts or any one of the United 
States, that prohibited or made it unlawful for me to 
remove to Great Britain or any part of the globe, with- 
out the permission of the legislative or executive au- 
thority of some one of the United States. (They were 
Provinces & Colonies of Great Britain when I removed), 
therefore my removal was innocent & lawful, conse- 
quently no arbitrary, ex post facto law can in the nature 
of things make it a crime or unlawful. The Holy Scrip- 
tures, reason, & common sense dictate, that where there 
is no law, there can be no transgression, & where there is 
no transgression there can be no punishment ; for punish- 
ment is nothing else but the effect or consequence of the 
transgression of a penal law. An innocent person may un- 
happily be imprisoned, transported, banished, flagellated, 
may have his property confiscated, and may be put to 
death, but neither of these would be punishment. They 
would be a cruel and wicked infliction of pain, misery, 
and death on an innocent person. This observation is 
agreeable to Delaware, North Carolina, and Maryland's 
Declaration of Rights, and in Massachusetts' Declaration 
of Eights drawn up by a committee of which your Ex- 


cellency was president, and adopted by the whole State 
as part of the Constitution ; my sentiment is expressly 
asserted, & declared in the following words in Article 24, 
viz., Laws made to punish for actions done before the 
existence of such laws, & which have not been declared 
to be crimes by any preceding laws, are unjust, oppres- 
sive, and incompatible with the fundamental principles 
of a free State. 

Three years & two months after my removal from 
Nantucket, viz., in Octo., 1778, the Gen 1 Court pass'd 
an Act wherein I am by name banished from Massa- 
chusetts State for my s d innocent & lawful removal from 
s d State. As to the assertion that I had joind the 
enemies thereof, and had aided & abetted them in their 
wicked designs against the United States, it is directly 
contrary to truth, for I no more joind, aided or abetted 
them than the man in the moon. In April, 1779, an Act 
was passd enacting that the estates of every member 
& inhabitant of Massachusetts or any other of the United 
States, who had removed from that or any other of the 
United States without the permission of the legislative or 
executive authority of some one of the United States 
since April 19, 1775, and had not returned to some one 
of the United States & been receivd as a subject thereof, 
shall be confiscated to the State (This Act was made near 
4 years after my s d innocent & lawful removal) and then 
declares, that whereas it is necessary that some mode of 
trial should be instituted whereby to determine whose 
estates are forfeited by force of said Act, & whereby 
those persons who are accused of offences in this Act 
described, may have their property defended in the best 
manner that their situation will admit of, it enacts, that 
the Attorney Gen 1 shall exhibit to the Justices of the 
Inferior Court of Common Pleas where the estate lies, 
a complaint, setting forth the offence such person is 
charged with, &c, and the issue shall be tried by a jury 


in the known and ordinary course of law, and if such 
jury shall return their verdict & find the same estate 
or any part thereof forfeited, the Court shall proceed 
to give judgment & shall issue a writ of habere facias 
possessionem in behalf of the government & people to 
cause them to be seized & possessed of the same. On 
the 19 of June, 1780, the Gen 1 Court by a Resolve 
appointed J. Prescot, C. Davis, E. Wales, T. Dawes & 
S. Henshaw, Esq rs , to be a Committee with full power to 
hire money for the State, & to make over to the lenders 
for security the estates of such absentees as they should 
think proper, & resolved that nothing contained therein 
should be construed to express the sense of government 
as to the forfeitures of the estates of said absentees. 

The Gen 1 Court appointed the Hon ble Oliver Wendell, 
Esq., State Agent for my estate, who took possession of 
my house in Boston & of the household furniture, & 
ordered s d furniture to be sold at auction, where it was 
sold for about half its value, & the money that arose 
from the sale thereof is now in his hands which, he says, 
he cannot deliver up to my attorney, D r Lloyd, without 
an order from the Gen 1 Court. By force of s d Resolve 
of June 19, 1780, said Committee borrowed July 14, 
1780, of P. N. Smith £50,000 Continental Currency and 
made over to him my house in Boston for security. The 
Gen 1 Court by an Act of Novem. 10, 1784, enacted, that 
all the estates of the persons meant, intended, or de- 
scribed in the Confiscation Act of April, 1779, which had 
been mortgaged by order of government, shall be con- 
sidered as having been confiscated, saving the right of 
redemption in the legal claimers upon their paying & 
discharging the mortgage according to the true intent 
& spirit of the same, which they are authorized to do in 
the same manner as the Commonwealth might, and if 
any action be brought the mortgagee may plead the 
general issue and give the Act in evidence. 


No part of my estate, real or personal, has been confis- 
cated by any special act made expressly for that purpose 
No issue has been tried by a jury respecting me, conse- 
quently no jury have by their verdict found that I had 
offended in the manner described in s d Act of April, 1779. 
No court has made up judgment against any part of my 
estate, as having been confiscated to the State, or ever 
has issued a writ of habere facias possessionem in behalf 
of the government & people to cause them to be seissed 
or possessed of any part of my estate. All these particu- 
lars s d Act of April, 1779, expressly declares shall be done 
and makes necessary to be done before any person can be 
convicted by force of s d Act to have offended in manner 
therein described, & for which offence his estate shall be 
confiscated to the State, and before any court can make 
up judgment and issue a writ of facias habere posses- 
sionem to cause the government & people to be seissed 
and possessed of any part of my estate. No part of my 
estate was confiscated by s d Resolve of June 19, 1780, 
because s d Eesolve expressly declares that nothing therein 
contained shall be construed to express the sense of gov- 
ernment respecting the forfeiture of the estates of absen- 
tees. For proof of all the above facts I appeal to all the 
Acts relating to confiscation made before Nov. 10, 1784, 
the Resolves of the Gen 1 Court respecting the estates of 
absentees, and the Records of the Courts. 

By the foregoing it is self evident, that no part of my 
estate, real or personal, had been confiscated before Nov. 
10, 1784, either by a special Act made expressly for that 
purpose, or by the s d Resolve of June 19, 1780, or by the 
verdict of a jury on s d Act of April, 1779 ; that no court 
had made up judgment against any part of my estate, or 
had issued a writ of habere facias possessionem in behalf 
of the government & people to cause them to be seissed 
and possessed of any part of my estate. Notwithstanding 
these truths, & that the 6 Article of the Definitive Treaty 


solemnly ratified by Congress January 14, 1784, expressly 
stipulates, that there be no further confiscations made, and 
that no person shall, for or on account of the part he may 
have taken in the present war, suffer any future loss or 
damage in his person, liberty, or property, the Gen 1 Court 
by an Act of Novem. 10, 1784, enacted that the estates of 
the persons meant, intended, or described in the Confis- 
cation Act of April, 1779, which estates have been mort- 
gaged by order of government, shall be considered as 
having been confiscated, saving the right of redemption 
in the legal claimers on paying & discharging the mort- 
gage according to the true meaning & spirit of the same. 
Now the Confiscation Act of April, 1779, is a gen 1 act 
and does not confiscate the estate of any particular ab- 
sentee by name, but expressly enacts that in order to 
determine who had offended in manner therein described, 
& that the person accused of having so offended might 
have his property defended in the best manner his situa- 
tion would admit of, that the issue should be tried by a 
jury in the known & ordinary course of law, and if such 
jury by their verdict should find the same estate or any 
part thereof forfeited, then the court should proceed to 
judgment & issue a writ of habere facias possessionem 
in behalf of the government & people, to cause them to 
be seissed & possessed of the same, so that by this their 
own Act and law the person accused of having offended 
in manner therein described, & for which offence his 
estate is demanded as forfeited, has been tried by a jury, 
& such jury have by their verdict found that he had of- 
fended in manner described in s d Act, & for such offence 
his estate or some part of it is forfeited to the State, and 
the court has made up judgment & issued a writ of 
habere facias possessionem in behalf of the government 
& people, to cause them to be seissed & possessed of the 
same, s d accused person stands innocent in law, & cannot 
be held or deemed to be one of the persons meant, in- 


tended, or described in s d Act of April, 1779, and the 
State, by this their own Act of April, 1779, has no more 
right to any part of his estate than the Grand Turk has : 
of consequence as no issue has been tried by any jury 
and no jury have by their verdict found that I had of- 
fended in the manner described in s d Act of April, 1779, 
and that for such offence any part of my estate was con- 
fiscated to the State, and no court has made up judg- 
ment and issued a writ of habere facias possessionem in 
behalf of the government & people, to cause them to be 
seissed and possessed of any part of my estate, I stand 
free and innocent in law, and cannot be held and deemed 
to be one of the persons meant, intended, or described 
in s d Act of April, 1779, and no part of my estate has 
been confiscated by force of s d Act. Now as no part of 
my estate had been confiscated before Novem. 10, 1784, 
the enacting by s d Act of Novem. 10, 1784, that my 
estate which had been mortgaged by s d Committee by 
order of government, that is, by force of s d Resolve of 
June 19, 1780, shall be considered as having been con- 
fiscated, saving only the right of redemption upon paying 
& discharging the mortgage, is a glaring and most shame- 
ful violation of truth, & a new confiscation (quoad the 
amount of the mortgage) made by same Act in direct con- 
travention of the 6 Article of the Definitive Treaty. I 
told these facts to his Excellency John Adams, Esq r , and 
showed him s d Act of Novem. 10, 1784. To which he 
replied that he was sorry for it. M rs Hayley is now in 
possession of my house in Boston by force of s d Commit- 
tee's mortgage and asks a large sum for the redemption. 
I would make one observation ; viz., That if I should 
bring a writ of ejectment for possession of my house, M rs 
Hayley, the mortgagee, is directed by s d Act of Novem. 
10, 1784, to plead the gen 1 issue and to give the Act in 
evidence, and the jury on their oaths must find, and the 
court on their oaths must adjudge, that my house had 


been confiscated quoad the amount of the mortgage, 
tho' they at the same time knew that it had never been 
confiscated in tolo, or in parte, that is. the jury must find, 
and the court must adjudge, that a thing had been done 
which they knew never had been done, or they must pay 
no regard to s d Act & look upon it as a mere nullity, an 
awkward dilemma. 

I have been obliged to trouble your Excellency with a 
long detail of particulars to give a comprehensive and 
clear view of my case, by which I flatter myself that 
your Excellency will be convinced that I am greatly op- 
pressd and ought to be relieved. Depending on your 
Excellency's benevolence, liberality of sentiment & sacred 
regard for justice, I take the liberty to request that your 
Excellency will be pleased to converse with my attorney 
D r James Lloyd, & give him your friendly opinion, whether 
it is probable, or not, if I should exhibit a Memorial to the 
Gen 1 Court respecting s d mortgage praying for relief, that 
I should succeed, and if you should think it is probable, 
that your Excellency will be so kind as to advise him 
how to proceed. The money arising from the sale of 
my household furniture, amounting to about £600 law- 
ful money, is now in the hands of Oliver Wendell, Esq. 
If your Excellency will advise D r Lloyd how to proceed 
in his application to the Gen 1 Court, and will be so kind 
as to support his application, I believe the Gen 1 Court 
will order Oliver Wendell, Esq., to pay s d money to D r 
Lloyd, as it has never been appropriated by the Gen 1 
Court. Though what I am soliciting for I have undoubt- 
edly a most just right & claim to, I apprehend I shall 
never obtain without the assistance & support of gentle- 
men of great weight and influence in the Gen 1 Court. 

D r Lloyd has wrote to me respecting my Kennebeck 
lands, as your Excellency is a great proprietor in s d 
lands, and knows the true state of the Company better 
than any other person, it will be doing me a great favour 


if your Excellency will advise him as to the measures 
that will be most for my interest. 

When any person feels himself aggrieved and greatly 
oppressed, it is natural for him to seek relief, and in 
order to succeed to solicit the assistance of those who 
from their rank & reputation can, and from their benevo- 
lence are disposed to befriend them ; and it is probable, 
that when an innocent person has been oppressed by an 
act of a Republic, and solicits that same Republic for 
relief, he will not succeed, however righteous & just his 
cause may be, unless he is supported by gentlemen of 
the highest estimation in the state for their understand- 
ing and virtue. This being my real situation, I must 
entreat your Excellency to accept it as an apology, & 
hope it will induce your Excellency to excuse my freedom 
in troubling you with so tedious a detail of my private 
affairs. I am, with every sentiment of esteem and 

Your Excellency's most obed* & hum serv\ 

William Vassall. 

Clapham Common, August 19, 1785. 

I forgot in the foregoing to mention to your Excel- 
lency that the Commissioners for examining the claims 
of American Loyalists rigidly exact that every claimer 
for compensation shall give clear and full proof of his 
having taken an active & decided part in fav of Great 
Britain against the United States, and as I knew I had 
always been a sincere friend to them, therefore could not 
give any such proof, I have not exhibited a claim to 
government for compensation, and am the only one that 
I know of who has not, and I am precluded from receiv- 
ing any compensation from the British Government for 
my losses, solely because I was a friend to the United 
States and would not act against them, and unless I am 
relieved by Massachusetts State I shall be a great sufferer, 
whereas those who took an active part against them will 


be no sufferers, as they will receive a compensation from 
the British government for their losses. 


Stockbridge, 23 August, 1785. 

Sir, — 'Tis now some time since I left the Indian 
country ; propose setting out again for Oneida to-morrow 
morning; have had two of their chiefs with me for a 
week, on a friendly visit & to accompany me back to 
their country. The Indians are much engaged to attend 
to religious instructions. I preached to near 600 while 
I tarried with them. I baptized 16 infants. I engaged 
a catechist to be constantly with them during my ab- 
sence. A more full account of the state of things among 
them I shall transmit to you hereafter. 

The Governor with the Commissioners from the State 
of N. York made a large purchase of land from the 
Oneidas, the 25 th or 26 of June last. They met with 
great difficulty in making the purchase. They met with 
two public absolute refusals from the Indians ; but they 
persevered & finally obtained their wishes. They pur- 
chased about 500,000 acres, & paid down to the amount 
of 11,500 dollars in goods & money. There purchase is 
bounded as follows, — Begining at the mouth of the 
Onedella (about 20 miles north of Onohoghgwage), thence 
up s d river 10 miles, then crossing the river on a due 
west line to the Ojinerigo, or Kaneghsawaghtayen branch 
of the Susquehannah, then down s d stream to its conflu- 
ence (or to the north line of Pensylvania), thence due 
east to the Delaware, or line of property run in 1768, 
from thenc northwardly on said line to the first men- 
tioned bounds. 

* For a notice of Rev. Samuel Kirkland, see 6 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. ix. p. 469 note. 
The note is appended to an earlier letter from Mr. Kirkland with reference to his mission- 
ary labors. — Eds. 


You will permit me to congratulate your Excellency 
on your being appointed to the first seat of government. 
Tho' perhaps the Common Wealth of Massachusetts may 
in this instance be commended for their wisdom, with 
more propriety, than merely in the honor done to your 
Excellency. I most sincerely wish you health & the 
blessing of Almighty God in your administration, and have 
the honor to subscribe, in truth & highest esteem, 
Your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant, 

Sam l Kirkland. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq k . 


Com. Wlth. of Mass., Boston, Oct. 18 th , 1785. 

Sir, — I have had the honour of receiving your Excel- 
lencies letter of the 25 of Aug* last, and, agreably to 
your request, will explain to you the object to which the 
Resolution of the General Court lately transmitted to 
your Excy & referrd to in your letter is pointed. 

One of the States had passed an Act laying duties on 
foreign goods imported from any of the United States, 
while the same goods imported immediately from foreign 
countries were not chargeable with such duties. By the 
same Act duties were also laid on rum, loaf sugar, and 
several other articles which are manufactured in this 
Commonwealth. A preference thus given to foreigners 
to the prejudice of the United States, or either of them, 
appeared very extraordinary. This Commonwealth felt 
itself affected, both as a member of the Confederacy and 
as an individual State charged with duties on its own 
manufactures, whereby its citizens would probably be 

* Printed from an original draught. Patrick Henry was Governor of Virginia at the 
time the letter was written ; and in the first draught, which has numerous corrections, the 
letter was addressed to " His Excellency the Gov* of Virginia." — Eds. 

1785.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 77 

prevented from vending them to the citizens of a sister 
State. The measure appeard the more grievous, be- 
cause the laws of this Commonwealth require no duties on 
the manufactures of any of the United States, and their 
citizens respectively are in point of commerce on a foot- 
ing here with our own. The Act aforementiond gave 
rise to the Resolution. Your Excy. will perceive it must 
particularly apply to that State. Accordingly an expos- 
tulatory letter was addressd to that State only. But as it 
must, in the opinion of every one, be a matter of the 
utmost importance to the United States that each of 
them should carefully avoid taking measures which might 
give just cause of offence to others & tend to the inter- 
ruption of that harmony & mutual good will upon which 
the general safety & wellfare depends, I took the liberty 
to inclose it to the several States ; being fully perswaded 
that if any of them should think proper to revise their 
commercial laws, and should thereupon observe an in- 
stance of such a nature & tendency, it would be alterd 
or repeald. 

I flatter myself your Excy. will not think my motive 
improper. It will eventually afford me the happy occa- 
sion of laying before the General Court your letter, 
expressing in very obliging terms your own most sin- 
cere regard for this Commonwealth, and an assurance 
of the readiness of your Assembly to manifest the same 
friendly disposition towards us on all proper occasions. 
I may venture to assure your Excellency, that a similar 
disposition towards Virginia & every branch of the Con- 
federacy prevails in the government & people of this 

As I understand your Assembly will meet the next 
month, I hope soon to be honored with another letter 
from your Excellency, acquainting me that the subject 
of mine of the 28 th of July # has been considered by that 

* See the letter to the Governor of Maryland, of the same date, ante, pp. 63-65. — Eds. 


honourable body, & that the measures taken by our G. C. 
have met with their concurrence, or that such other meas- 
ures as their wisdom may have dictated have been adopted 
by them, whereby the designs of the British court unrea- 
sonably to controul our trade may be counteracted & 

I am, with cordial esteem and respect, your Excellen- 
cies most obedient and very humble servant. 

His Excellency Patrick Henry, Esq. 


Newington-Green, Oct. 25 th , 1785. 

Sir, — I return you many thanks for your letter of the 
12 th of Aug st last, and for the Memoirs with which it was 
accompany' d. Tt gives me much pleasure to find that 
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is honoured 
by a President so attentive to the interest of science and 
so capable of promoting it. I shall be glad to see the 
volume of Memoirs which I suppose has before this time 
been printed and publish'd at Boston. May the American 
Academy flourish, and my hopes be verify'd of seeing the 
United States distinguish' d as seats of science, liberty, 
and virtue. 

My sentim ts of light are the same with those you de- 
fend in your first and second memoir ; and your observa- 
tions in answer to D r Franklin's objections are, I think, 
decisive. Your ideas also of an orb surrounding visible 
nature, and of concentric orbs beyond it containing myr- 
iads of systems of worlds all so disposed as to cause 
the power of gravity itself to preserve them in their 

* Apparently Bowdoin did not keep a copy of the letter to which this is the answer. 
For a notice of Rev. Richard Price and numerous letters to him, see 2 Proceedings, vol. 
xvii. pp. 262-378. — Eds. 

1785.] RICHARD PRICE. 79 

original order, — these ideas open the imagination and 
lead to enlarged views of the grandeur of the universe. 
You propose them also with a diffidence and caution w ch 
are the general characteristics of wisdom and which on 
such a subject are particularly proper. You will, there- 
fore, I dare say, not be displeased with me for observing 
that M r Herschel's late discoveries in the heavens have 
overthrown some of your arguments for the existence of 
such orbs. An account of these discoveries has been given 
in two of the last numbers of the Philosophical Transac- 
tions ; and you may probably before this time have found 
in them that the appearance of the Milky Way is occa- 
sioned certainly by the blended light of a vast multitude 
of stars ; that the heavens are full of Nebulas ; that many 
of these Nebulae are resolvable into clusters of stars and 
others so distant as not to be so resolvable by M r Her- 
schel's largest magnifiers; that very probably our sun 
with the planets that move round it is one system in the 
Milky Way ; and that the Milky Way itself with all the 
starry heavens discoverable by the naked eye form a clus- 
ter which appears a Nebula to distant Nebulae. M r Her- 
schel has also, in some former volumes of the Philosophical 
Transactions, shewn contrary to an intimation of yours 
that the Solar System moves, and he has gone so far as 
even to point out the direction of its motion ; and if our 
system moves it is most likely that other systems move. 
I must add, that it appears to me that since the light of 
the sun extinguishes the light of the moon and stars, it 
must have a much greater effect in extinguishing the 
light of an orb so distant as that w ch you suppose, and 
that for this reason it seems impossible that the azure 
colour of the sky in a bright day should not be the light 
of the sun reflected by the air. Were this the light of an 
orb beyond the fixed stars, its white as well as its azure 
parts would appear in the day time ; and they would 
appear fainter or brighter just as th?ir light was more or 


less obliterated by the light of the sun and also of the 

I beg leave further to observe, that the mean distance 
of M r Herschel's planet being about 18 times the distance 
of the earth, the number of miles contained in this dis- 
tance cannot exceed about 2000 millions. In p. 38 you 
have intimated that it is 5000 millions. I think I sent 
some time ago to M r Willard an account of the elements 
of the orbit of this planet as they have been determined 
by some of the best European astronomers. 

I return you my best thanks for your readiness to 
assist M r Lewis, and tho' the offer you made of your 
kindness to him did not answer the end intended by it 
he is equally obliged to you. I am truly sorry for the 
disagreeable situation of affairs between this country 
and yours. I lament the policy we are likely to pursue, 
and dread its consequences. It may prove fatal to us, 
should we lose by it the trade and friendship of your 
increasing world and throw them entirely into the 
scale of France. The United States, however, will 
in my opinion profit by it, should it check among them 
the luxury, the inequality, selfishness, and avarice fos- 
ter'd by trade, and teach them frugality, simplicity of 
manners, and the necessity of strengthening their federal 

Permit me to congratulate you on your elevation to 
the station of Governor of your State. Nothing, next 
to the testimony of a good conscience, can be more 
agreeable than such a proof of the approbation of free 
and enlighten'd citizens. It is an honour much greater 
than being by descent King of Great Britain or France. 
I doubt not but the State of Massachusetts will profit 
much by your integrity and abilities. 

D r Franklin had left Europe at the time I received 
your letter to him ; and therefore I have burnt it with- 
out opening it. Under a very grateful sense of your 

1785.] JOHN WILMOT. 81 

Excellency's kind attention and with all the best wishes 
and great respect I am, 

Your very obed fc and humble serv*. 

Rich: d Price. 

P. S. I am very happy in the acquaintance of M r 
Adams, and wish he was more encouraged in his nego- 
tiations. This letter was written in October and kept in 
hopes of a direct conveyance to Boston, but not being 
able to find this I have sent it by way of New York. I 
hope M r Temple is safely arrived. 


Bedford Row, 30 Oct', 1785. 

Dear Sir, — I sincerely hope you have had a safe 
passage to America, tho' I fear some part of it was rather 
boisterous. You will receive with this a letter from our 
Board, requesting your assistance in enabling us to com- 
plete our set of Laws & publick Acts relative to the 
American Loyalists, & likewise in sending us any infor- 
mation that may come to your knowledge of any prop- 
erty being restored to the American Loyalists formerly 
of the Province of New York. We thought this circum- 
stance, if it w T as so, must be of so publick & notorious a 
nature that you could not have much difficulty in procur- 
ing the information, or in communicating it to us, when it 
might be of so much importance to the enquiry we are 
engaged in. I should hope, as the information we wish 

* John Wilmot, who in 1812 assumed by royal license the additional surname of Eardley, 
was the second son of the Lord Chief Justice of the same name, and was born in 1750. 
He entered Parliament in 1776, and served in it for many years, but seldom spoke. In 
1783 he was appointed one of the Commissioners to inquire into the losses of the American 
Loyalists; and of this Commission he wrote an account which was published in the year of 
his death under the title of " Historical View of the Commission for Inquiring into the Losses, 
Services, and Claims of the American Loyalists at the Close of the War between Great 
Britain and her Colonies in 1783 ; with an Account of the Compensation granted to them 
by Parliament in 1785 and 1788." He died June 23, 1815. See Dictionary of National 
Biography, vol. lxii. p. 69. — Eds. 



is confined to the Province of New York, that it will not 
occasion you much trouble or inconvenience ; I fear the 
result of such an enquiry will be that very few if any 
of the Loyalists are restored to any part of their prop- 
erty, tho' some of the States are more lenient, others 
more strict, with regard to their return. How is the 
State of New York in this respect? I shou'd be much 
obliged to you for any information or communication 
you may honour me with on the subject of the American 
Loyalists or any other species of American politicks. 
I shall receive it in the most confidential manner, & only 
make such use of it as you may authorize me to do. I 
thought myself & so did M r Marsh much obliged to you 
for introducing us to M r Adams, & I shall take the first 
opportunity next month of paying my respects to him 
and acknowledging to him that obligation. 

Since the conversation we had at your house, I have 
confidently acquainted some of the American Loyalists, 
that I was well assured they might procure certificates 
of the confiscation & sale of their estates & copies of 
records or other publick acts. As you are upon the 
spot however, & have probably had applications from 
some of the Loyalists for that purpose, I shou'd be much 
obliged to you for your further opinion on the subject. 
But as we undoubtedly shall have occasion for much 
minute enquiry into the cases of individuals and in detail, 
we had a clause inserted in the last Act to enable us to 
employ a person as an agent in the different States, & 
we propose soon after Christmas or early in the spring 
to send out such an one, with particular instructions, 
tho' we shou'd in the mean time be very much obliged 
to you for the assistance & information above mentioned, 
& I shou'd hope to hear from you before this person sets 
out, by whom I shall take the liberty of writing to you, 
& requesting your friendly advice and assistance to, as 
well as your publick protection & countenance. 

1785.] ELBRIDGE GERRY. 83 

As to publick news that has arisen since your depart- 
ure, I presume you know it as fully & as accurately on 
your side the water as we do on our, baiting the time 
necessary to waft it over to you. The event of the 
Irish propositions has I think been favourable to the 
minister. The Parliament will not meet till after Christ- 
mas. The rise of the stocks is imputed chiefly to the 
peace between the Emperor & the Dutch, w T ho continue 
to buy largely in our funds. I believe whatever change 
there may be in their affection, they continue to have 
a better opinion of their old allies than their new ones, 
who do not seem to have taken great care of their 
interest with the Emperor. The payment of a million 
of the navy debt has likewise contributed to the rise 
above mentioned. Money is certainly flowing very fast 
into this country, & Old England seems to be rearing 
her head again. 

I have the honour to be, dear Sir, 

Your very faithful & obedient servant. 

John Wilmot. 


New York, 6 th December, 1785. 

My dear Sir, — I am out of the executive line of fcederal 
politicks, but considering myself as an half-pay statesman, 
have a right to speculate in them on some occasions. 
What gives birth to the letter is, information from 
Massachusetts that the election of Mr. Hancock to the 
chair of Congress is considered there by the friends 
of the present administration of the Commonwealth as 
a measure opposed to the interest thereof. Whether this 
opinion is well founded or not, I will not undertake to 

* For a notice of Elbridge Gerry, see 7 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. iii. p. 142 note. 


determine, neither can I take upon myself any of the 
merit or demerit of the measure itself, but having some 
suspicion that those who are opposed to that adminis- 
tration would wish to create jealousies between it & the 
delegates of the State now in Congress, I think it but 
a friendly part to your Excellency to prevent if possible 
such consequences. Mr. King I am very intimately 
acquainted with, & his attachment to your Excellency, 
in your public & in your private capacity, the former 
of which he has grounded on your publick administration 
& the latter on your well known character, is not to be 
disputed ; altho he is too independent & liberal in his 
sentiments to inlist in a party & adopt all their meas- 
ures, proper or improper. Mr. Dane I am not so well 
acquainted with, but from conversing with him, have 
every reason to suppose that he is so well satisfied with 
the present arrangement as most seriously to wish a con- 
tinuance thereof. I am very sure that you cannot mis- 
place confidence in the former & that you cannot have 
anything to apprehend from the latter. 

Being much in haste I have only time to inform you 
of the welfare of Mr. & Mrs. Temple, & with my best 
respects to your lady & Miss Temple, to assure your 
Excellency that on every occasion I am 

Your sincere friend & most obed ser* 

E. Gerry. 

His Excellency Governor Bowdoin. 


Boston, January 12 th , 1786. 

Sir, — I am honored by your Excellency's letter of 
the 2 d of Sept. by Mr Storer. 

* This letter is printed from the original in the Adams Papers. Apparently Governor 
Bowdoin did not keep a copy of it. — Eds. 

1786.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 85 

The Navigation Act of Massachusetts having been 
found to militate with the French treaty of commerce, 
& to exclude our fish from the Levant by excluding the 
subjects of the Italian & other states coming with their 
vessels for it, when our own in attempting to carry it to 
them would be intercepted by the Algerines, it was 
judged expedient to repeal it in part: so that it now 
operates in full force, only against the subjects of Great 
Britain & their property. A copy of the repealing Act 
will be sent to you, & also of an Act passed by the 
Legislature of Rhode Island at their last session. 

I have transmitted copies of our repealing Act to the 
Executives of the several States, & warmly urged a simil- 
itude of measures, without which the United States can- 
not hope to bring about an alteration in the commercial 
system of Britain. 

That system, in my idea of it, is clearly opposed to 
her own interest considered in all its parts, & in a com- 
plex view of it. It is very true, their encouragement of 
their whale fishery, by suffering the alien duty on oil 
to depress ours, will encrease their shipping in this 
branch, encrease their seamen, & in several other ways 
be advantageous to them. To a person who looks no 
further, it would appear that this was good policy, & 
the goodness of it would be inferred from the advantages 
arising. But when he should extend his view, & see how 
that stoppage of the American whale fishery, by depriv- 
ing the Americans of so capital a mean of paying for the 
woolen goods they used to take of Britain, must at the 
same time occasion the American demand to cease or be 
proportionately diminished, not to mention the risk of 
a change or deviation of the trade from the old channels, 
he will calculate the national profit & loss that arises 
from that stoppage. 

3000 tons of oil was the usual annual quantity pro- 
duced by the whalemen at Nantucket : all of which was 


shipped to England at an average price of L 35 p. ton 

making about L. 105.000. St. 

The whole of which went to pay for & 
purchase a like amount of woolens & other 
British goods, nine tenths of the value of 
which are computed to arise from the 
labor of the manufacturer, & to be so 
much clear gain to the nation : the other 
tenth therefore being deducted gives the 
national gain arising from the industry of 
the Nantucket whalemen, & the Ameri- 
can capital employed in that business, 

viz. L 94,500 10,500. 

without the nation's paying a shilling for the risk of in- 
surance, or any other risk whatever. 

On the change of trade, pursuant to the new regula- 
tions, the British merchants must employ a large capital 
in the whale fishery, whose products we will suppose, 
equal to that of the Nantucket. L 105.000. St 

They will have made an exceeding good voyage if the 
whole of that sum should be equal to one half of the 
cost of the outfits ; though from many of the vessels not 
meeting with fish, & from a variety of accidents, to 
which such a voyage is subject, it probably would not 
be a quarter. The whole of the product goes towards 
payment of the outfits & charges of the voyage, & a 
large sum must be advanced for the second voyage, &c. 

Now altho' this mode of commerce would be produc- 
tive of some national benefits, yet considered in a com- 
parative view with the benefits resulting from the former 
mode they would be found of little importance. 

A like comparison may be made with other branches 
of commerce ; particularly the British West Indian, & 
the result will be found the same. For the sake then of 
gaining pence & farthings, Britain is sacrificing pounds 

1786.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 87 

by her new regulations of trade. She has a right to see 
for her self : but unhappily resentment & the consequent 
prejudices have so much disordered her powers of vision, 
that it requires the skilful hand of a good political opti- 
cian to remove the obstructing films. If she will not 
permit the application of your couching instruments, or 
if applied they can work no effect, the old lady must be 
left to her fate & abandoned as incurable. 

But it is to be hoped, not so much on her account as 
our own, that they may be successful. One ground of 
hope is the private negotiation which Mr. Nath'l Barrett 
is gone to France to perfect & execute, relative to their 
taking our whale oil duty free, & in lieu of it giving at 
an agreed rate, according to their quality, such French 
manufactures as are best suited to our market : except- 
ing a certain proportion of the oil, which must be paid 
for by bills of exchange to raise money for the men 
engaged in the voyage. About two months ago, Mr. 
Barrett sailed for France, with letters for Mr. Jefferson 
& the Marquis de la Fayette, & if he succeeds a great 
revolution in trade will probably be the consequence ; 
& France, on the principle of reciprocal benefit, exclude 
Britain from all trade with America. This appears to 
me so probable, that if you could impress the British 
ministry with the same idea, you would find little diffi- 
culty to bring about a commercial treaty with them, 
perfectly agreeable to your own mind & to the wishes 
of the United States. An interchange of a few letters 
on this subject with Mr. Jefferson would give you the 
present state of the negotiation. 

With the most perfect regard, I have the honor to be, 

Your Excellency's most obed* hble serv fc . 

James Bowdoin. 



Jamaica Plain, Feby 1, 1786. 

Dear Sir, — Though late in congratulating you & 
your lady upon your safe arrival, yet I rejoiced when I 
heard of & was convinced of your appointment ; & 
made immediate use of what our friend M r Adams wrote 
concerning you, upon receiving it, that I might lay an 
anchor to the windward against the blasts of ill nature 
& prejudice ; & therewith disputed against gainsayers in 
your behalf with a degree of success. M r Adams wrote 
June the 26 th , 85, "I presume M r Bowdoin is your Gov- 
ernor, & that all things go on smoothly. M r Temple is 
here & behaves in a manner very friendly to America. 
If he goes out, as he proposes to do in August, he will do 
no injury to America, but on the contrary I believe more 
service than we can expect from any other British 
Consul.' , The day I received the letter, I forwarded the 
extract to a Massachusetts delegate at Congress, who I 
believed was friendly to you ; that he might therewith 
make favorable impressions, & I communicated it to 
numbers at Boston of the Council, Senate, & House & 
others, weeks before I let the Governor see it, that so it 
might not be said that the family put me upon it. My 
agent at New York has, I understand, ngreeable to my 
wishes, sent you one of my proposals, & I hope for your 
patronage. I am now getting a little in readiness for 
removing with my family to Great Britain & expect to 
quit America by the latter end of April or beginning 
of May. I doubt not of your readiness to serve me in a 
particular case, if within your power ; & therefore men- 
tion it. I mean to take back a part of my library, in which 
there will not be a dozen bound books but what I brought 
over with me, or had sent from thence. I shall have also 

* For a notice of Rev. William Gordon, D.D., author of the History of the American 
Revolution, see 6 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. iv. p. 151 note. — Eds. 

1786.] WILLIAM GORDON. 89 

some furniture, but all of English manufacture. The 
United States being now foreign dominions, these articles 
will by a strict interpretation of the law be subject to 
duties, & some very heavy ; but I should imagine a 
representation & letters from you to the Commissioners 
of the Customs, specifying that they all came from Eng- 
land, are not meant for sale, but private use, belong to a 
Briton returning to his native country with the design of 
finishing his days there as a peaceable subject, would 
procure me a license for landing them free from duty, 
upon proper assurance given that the package contains 
no smuggled article whatever, neither tea, coffee, choco- 
late, &c. Shall be glad to know whether you can assist 
me in this business consistently with your public charac- 
ter, & without giving umbrage to your friends by attempt- 
ing to serve me. Should you not be able to serve me, 
still if you have any letters which you would wish to 
entrust me with to be delivered with my own hands, I 
shall attend to it, the same as if you could help me. 
I was very anxious for your arrival & being recognized 
by Congress ere a certain person could be seated in the 
chair, lest the public should suffer damage, by measures 
adopted for the purpose of gratifying private malice. 
M rs Gordon unites in regards to self, Lady & children. I 
have the happiness now & then of seeing & conversing 
with your amiable daughter. I remain, dear Sir, 
Your Honour's most obedient, humble servant. 

William Gordon. 


Jamaica Plain, March 15, 1786. 

Dear Sir, — Your obliging letter of 14 th Feb y , re- 
ceived last Sabbath evening, has convinced me that I 
judged right in numbering you among my real friends. 


The spirit of the Americans in continuing to abuse 
Britain, &c, tho' peace has been established, has recon- 
ciled me greatly to the thought of leaving the continent 
where I should have had no quiet in case of a future 
rupture, unless I would have gone with them in all 
their extravagances. Their malevolence has charged the 
British with bringing the Algerines upon them, & I have 
at times said, where it could be said with safety, that if 
the plague was to break out among them they would be 
ready to impute it to the king's being in league with the 
prince of the power of the air. You have had your turn ; 
& now it is mine to be abused in the public papers. Some 
suspect whether the little man upon the hill has not his 
hands in this dirty business. He may justly dread an 
impartial, independent historian. Should you visit Boston, 
& he know the time of your coming, he may get well 
enough to visit New York & occupy a place which deserves 
a person of more abilities & true dignity. You will ask, 
how do you bear the drubbing ? Like an old countryman 
that possesses mens conscia recti. Would you think it, & 
yet so it is, M r Mumford, who rides post from Boston 
through Providence & Newport to New London, told me, 
that it was objected I was friendly to you, & therefore 
nothing could be expected from me favourable to Amer- 
ica, upon which I shewed him M r Adams's letter that he 
might assure the objectors that you was friendly to 
America. Am obliged to you for subscribing, & hope 
you will have pleasure in reading. Shall get some of my 
friends to republish in the London papers the scurrilous 
paragraphs that have been printed at Boston, that so the 
British may be animated to subscribe. Wont that be a 
good scheme to take in the green horns of America, who 
see not the operations of their own malice for frustrating 
their very intentions ? Will take care to present your 
regards as requested. 

I rejoice in the prosperity of my native country. As I 

1786.] WILLIAM GORDON. 91 

find you can quote scripture upon occasion, I will let you 
see that I am like wise, but shall leave the application & 
interpretation to yourself. No man having drank old wine, 
straightivay desireth neiv ; for he saith the old is better. 

I guarded some against the epidemic frenzy of trusting 
the Americans ; who I hope have profited by the hint & 

I come now to my own particular business. I have fol- 
lowed k mean to follow your advice in general. I men- 
tioned furniture ; but all I mean to take is an old Indian 
Japan dressing-glass, formerly belonging to M rs Gordon's 
aunt, & for which she has a relative fondness, & our best 
bed furniture, which has never been put up in America, 
nor even taken out of the case in which it came over, & 
only examined to see that it was not damaged. Chairs, 
tables, clock, &c, &c, we shall sell. A number of my books 
I have disposed of; the choicest & which I cannot replace 
easily, or that would fetch but a trifle here considering 
how little they are in demand, I shall take back. The 
freight of all I carry with me will fall short, I apprehend, 
of ten guineas. There will be about eight boxes & cases. 
Most of them what I brought over, & have put by & used 
for keeping corn in, &c. I take back the capital land- 
scape upon iron which hung in the parlour, done at Bir- 
mingham. Half a dozen Mezzotinto's framed & glassed ; 
& three pictures of butterflies are also packed up. The two 
beds with the blankets which will be wanted for selves & 
the maid, a chest of linen, a box with clothes, & two or 
three small boxes with papers, sermons, &c, there will 
be no occasion, I apprehend, to put into the manifest. 
You may assure your correspondent that I will make no 
attempt to smuggle any articles, nor admit of any attempt 
of that kind under my sanction. And now suffer me, 
dear Sir, to entreat your interest with M r Stiles, that the 
above articles may be admitted to a landing without 
being subject to duties, as they were formerly British, & 


are not meant for sale, but my own private use. Be 
pleased to mention in your letter to me, whether there 
are any perquisites belonging to the Secretary's office, & 
what they are, if you know, that so I may give custom to 
whom custom is due. 

I expect to sail in three weeks at farthest, & must be 
ready before. Pray you therefore to enclose your letter 
to M r Stiles in one from yourself, & send by the post for 
safety the first opportunity, that it may not be too late. 
The expence of postage I shall consider as trifling com- 
pared with a disappointment of not receiving them in 

time. M rs G- joins in best regards to your Lady, self 

& family, some children I suppose you have with you. 
Dear Sir, your sincere friend & very humble servant. 

William Gordon. 

The Gov r & family I believe are well. They are well. 

Pray present the profile shade to your Lady. Wish she 
may find a likeness in it. Obtained it yesterday; but it 
must be kept a profound secret, as the delicacy of the 
original may be otherwise hurt. 


Grosvenor Square, March 24, 1786. 

Sir, — I do myself the honour of inclosing a few extracts 
of letters written in 1783 to M r Livingstone, which it is 
to be presumed were laid before Congress ; but I have 
not heard that the plan suggested in them of purchasing 
raw sugars in France, Spain and Portugal, to be refined 
in Boston, New York and Philadelphia for exportation to 
Russia, Germany & Italy, has been ever attempted, untill 
this winter by M r Thomas Boylston. Upon the arrival 
of a cargo of oil in the Thames he resolved instead of 
paying the alien duty, to embark on board of the vessell 
and carry it abroad. He arrived in Ostend, unloaded the 

1786.] JOHN LATBROP. 93 

ship, seperated the sperma caeti from the oil, and went 
with both to Havre de Grace and thence to Rouen. lie 
had letters from me to Rouen k to Paris, particularly to 
M r Jefferson, the Marquis de la Fayette & Messr 8 Le 
Couteule. With some difficulty they got the duties some- 
what reduced, and with his sagacity, activity, and perse- 
verance, he got the better of those devices which are too 
frequent in trade in that country, sold his oil for a good 
price, bought a quantity of raw sugars which cost him six 
or seven hundred guineas more than the proceeds of his 
oil, and sent the head-matter and sugars to Boston. No 
other man at his age would have undertaken so much 
fatigue, risque & vexation: and I much question whether 
delays and charges and leakage considered, his profits 
have been very great ; but a beginning is made and an 
example sett. If we can make remittances to Russia in 
this manner, it will be a resource. It well deserves the 
consideration of the State of Massachusetts, whether any 
encouragement can be given by bounties or drawbacks of 
duties upon sugars thus imported from Europe. A mar- 
kett in this way may surely be found for all your oil. M r 
Boylston has certainly rendered a considerable service to 
his native country, by applying his capital, his talents, 
and industry in this manner. 

With great respect I have the honour to be, Sir, your 
Excellency's most obedient & most humble servant. 

John Adams. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, 

Governor of Massachusetts. 


Boston, 28 March, 1786. 

Dear Sir, — When his Excellency informed me he had 
in his house a diploma for me from the University of 

* Rev. John Lathrop, D.D., was born in Norwich, Conn., May 17. 1740, graduated at 
Princeton College in 1763, and in 1768 was settled o\3r the Old North Church in Boston. 


Edinburgh and at the same time acquainted me with the 
channel in which the honor was conferred, I felt the obli- 
gations which I owe to you, Sir, for so valuable and un- 
deserved a favor. And when M r Bowdoin was obliging 
enough to present me the diploma, I took the liberty to 
desire he would be so kind as to make my grateful ac- 
knowledgments in the first letter he might have occasion 
to write you. We flattered ourselves that it would not 
be long before we should have the happiness of seeing you 
in Boston, when my good friend D r Howard and myself 
intended to pay our respects to you in person. But I 
cannot feel satisfied with myself to suffer any more time 
to pass away without begging you to accept my sincere 
thanks for so distinguishing a mark of your friendship. 

When I was honored with your acquaintance and 
learned the history of your past fortunes, it was my ar- 
dent wish you might be rewarded for your sufferings in 
the cause of your country in particular, and the liberties 
of mankind in general. 

The first letter I recievd from that great and good 
man D r Price, after your arival in England was expres- 
sive of his affection and of his fears; he was afraid the 
feelings of the ministry at that time were not so favor- 
able to your views as he could wish : time however pro- 
duced alterations. While I hope the emoluments of your 
present appointment may be in some measure answerable 
to what you had a right to expect, it is my sincere wish 
that by your mediation a lasting and most friendly inter- 
course may be established between the two countries. As 
a clergyman I took an early part on the side of America, 
but now the war is over I desire as far as possible to forget 

During the siege his meeting-house was torn down, and he went into exile. After his 
return to the town he became a colleague and afterward sole minister of the united congre- 
gations of the Old North and the New Brick. He received the degree of D.D. from the 
University of Edinburgh in 1785. He died in Boston Jan. 4, 1816. See Appleton's 
Cyclopaedia of American Biographj', vol. iii. p. 625 ; Robbins's History of the Second 
Church, pp. 125-130. — Eds 

1786.] JOHN ADAMS. 95 

past sufferings, and sincerely wish the two countries may be 
united in affection as they certainly may be in interest. 

As to our system of government, you find much want- 
ing to render it perfect. If the States do not vest Con- 
gress with more power it will be impossible to support 
the confederacy : some other form of government must 
and will take place. But I hope they are learning 
wisdom, and will exert themselves in season to prevent 
their ruin. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is re- 
covering under the wise and prudent administration of 
Governor Bowdoin ; but several years more will be 
necessary to break up many pernicious habits, and teach 
the people universally the necessity of submitting to such 
laws and regulations as are absolutely necessary to their 
honor and happiness. 

By D r Williams & M r Eliot I have lately receivd fresh 
expressions of your friendship, for which you will please 
to accept my thanks. Hope you will be able to visit 
Boston in the approaching season ; and you will allow me 
to say, none of your friends can more sincerely rejoice in 
your happiness than, Sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant. 

John Lathrop. 

Honorable John Temple, Esqr. 


London, May 9, 1786. 

Sir, — Your Excellence's letter of the 12 of January 
I have had the honour to receive, and am much obliged 
to you for the information in it. 

Your opinion of the policy of the country will be found 
in the result of things to be just, and your reasoning in 
support of it is so conclusive and at the same time so 
obvious, that it is astonishing it has not its effect upon 
the Cabinet. Every consideration has been repeatedly 


urged to no effect. Seamen, the navy, and power to 
strike an awf ull blow to their ennemies at sea on the first 
breaking out of a war, are the ideas that prevail over all 
others. M r Jenkinson, an old friend of the British Em- 
pire, is still at his labours. He is about establishing a 
bounty upon fifteen ships to the southward and upon two 
to double Cape Horn for sperma caeti whales. Americans 
are to take an oath that they mean to settle in England 
before they are entitled to the bounty. I have long since 
informed Congress, that nothing is to be expected from 
this country but poverty, weakness, and ruin. If after 
all our people will carry on a ruinous trade, it is their own 
concern. But no man can do them a greater injury than 
by holding up to their view a hope that we shall receive 
any relief by taking off the duty on oil, or by admission 
to the West India Islands. They will infallibly be de- 
ceived if they entertain any such expectations. 

I have been circumstancially informed from time to 
time and step by step from M r Jefferson, the Marquis de 
la Fayette, and M r Barrett of all the negotiations for 
exchanging our oyl for the produce, manufactures, and 
sugars of France. The great revolution in trade which 
you mention ought to be promoted by every friend of 
America, and it must take place. I have made use of 
all these considerations. But if an angel from heaven 
should declare to this nation that our States will unite, 
retaliate, prohibit, or trade with France, they would not 
believe it. There is not one man in the nation who, pre- 
tends to believe it, and if he did he would be treated with 
scorn. Let me intreat you, Sir, and every other citizen 
of the United States, to extinguish all hopes of relief to 
their trade from this country. 

Peace with the Turks, comprehending under this term 
Constantinople, Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers and Morocco, is 
essential to our navigation and commerce and political 
consideration in Europe. Two or three hundred thou- 

1786.] NATHAN DANE. 97 

sand guineas and nothing less will obtain it. It will be 
miserable policy and ceconomy to loose two or three mil- 
lions in trade, insurance, &c, and still worse to add two 
or three millions more in fitting out a navy to fight them, 
in order to save that sum in customary presents. We are 
now limited to a sum that will be worse than thrown away. 

Intrigues of individuals are said to be on foot to sett 
South America free from Spain, and not improbably the 
pulse may be felt in the United States. But I hope the 
States will not only be prudent themselves, but oblige 
individuals to be so too. Portugal & Spain are bound by 
a Treaty of 1778 to support each other in such a case, 
and all the world will be in flames. We had better avoid 
the fury of them. 

Three great objects agitate the Cabinets of Europe in 
secret. The passage of the Dardanells and navigation of 
the Danube I consider as one ; a free commerce with all 
the East Indies is a second ; and the independence of 
South America is the third. They will all be pursued 
untill they are obtained, as I fully believe. But as all 
know the contest will be sharp, extensive, and long, all 
are afraid to begin. This is all confidential, between 
you and me and a few of our discreet friends. 

God bless our country, but I still tremble for its safety. 

With great respect, I have the honour to be your Ex- 
cellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 

„ _, T John Adams. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, 
Governor of Massachusetts. 


New York, June 10 th , 1786. 
Sir, — I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excel- 
lency for your private information, at the request of 

* Nathan Dane, the eminent jurist, was born in Ipswich Dec. 27, 1752, graduated at 
Harvard College in 1778, and died in Beverly Feb. 15, 1835. After graduating he studied 


M r Temple copies of the demand made by M r Adams of 
the Western posts and Lord Carmarthen's answer, which 
copies M r Temple yesterday handed to me. 

On this occasion permit me to observe, Sir, that a few 
weeks since, Congress received dispatches from M r Adams, 
our minister at the Court of London, inclosing copies of 
his demand of those posts and the answer of Lord Car- 
marthen, with a statement of supposed grievances similar 
to those mentioned in the inclosed papers. 

All the matters to which these papers refer are under 
the consideration of Congress, and in a train of examina- 
tion. The injunctions of secresy relative to them being 
taken of, the several delegations would probably before 
this time have communicated to their respective States 
copies of those dispatches touching the posts, but on at- 
tention to this subject and said statement of supposed 
grievances, it appears proper previously to ascertain sev- 
eral facts relative to it. Some doubts arise how far sev- 
eral of the laws mentioned in that statement ever had in 
fact the effect of laws, what constructions the courts of 
justice have put on those laws which passed in due form 
the several branches of the legislatures, and how far other 
laws of the States and various important considerations 
are to be attended to, in order to determine with pro- 
priety how far the grievancies stated by the British mer- 
chants are well founded. 

But Congress cannot come to any determinations on 
these subjects 'till there shall be a fuller representation of 
the States, and on this occasion also, Sir, give me leave to 
express the anxiety I feel arising from the present feeble 
administration of the federal government owing prin- 

law, and soon became one of the most distinguished lawyers in New England. From 1782 
to 1785 he was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, and from the latter year to 1788 
he was a member of the Continental Congress. There he rendered important services, espe- 
cially as the author of the Ordinance of 1787, for the government of the territory north- 
west of the Ohio. In later years he gave to Harvard College the funds on which the Dane 
Professorship of Law was founded. See App'.eton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 
vol. ii. p. 72. — Eds. 

1786.] SAMUEL OSGOOD. 99 

cipally to the want of attendance of the delegates from 
several of the States. It must give peculiar concern to 
any one who feels for the honor and welfare of this Con- 
federacy to observe our interesting negotiations with for- 
eign powers and important affairs at home impeded and 
delayed for many months together by this inattention ; 
and at a time when so many good & well informed men 
in the Union are disposed to cement the social compact; 
and with this anxiety I cannot but express my ardent 
wishes that the attention of the several States may be 
turned to the adoption of means for keeping up a fall 
and punctual representation in Congress, and to the adop- 
tion of those regulations that shall make it a duty in the 
delegates to attend not to be dispensed with, so far as it 
shall be necessary to keep each State represented. But 
these regulations I leave to the wisdom of the States to 
make, and only beg leave to add, that it is with the most 
sincere satisfaction I see the executive powers of the 
government of which I have the honor to be a member 
again lodged in your hands. 

With much esteem and respect, I am your Excellency's 
most obed* hum b!e ser* 

N. Dane. 

His Excellency Governor Bowdoin. 


New York, June 17 th , 1786. 

Permit me to congratulate your Excellency upon your 
again being appointed the first magistrate of the Com- 
monwealth of Massachusetts. Altho I am at a distance 
from the State, my attachment will rather encrease than 
diminish ; & whatever tends to promote her happiness 
will at all times affect me with the most sensible pleas- 
ure. The circumstance which affords me an opportunity 


at this time to offer you my congratulations, can give 
no one more pleasure than it does me. 

I have lately been favoured with your Address to the 
two Houses, in which your Excellency has discovered a 
great attention to the interests of the Commonwealth ; 
and I am very happy to find that you continue to possess 
Ideas of the necessity of strengthening the foederal gov- 
ernment, — that you express them with equal freedom 
& firmness. I believe every man who is attentive to our 
national concerns must conclude that the crisis has ar- 
rived, & that unless some new arrangement is made for 
Congress they may as well disperse as continue together. 

You observe in your Address, " that the former part 
of this recommendation has been complied with by the 
Legislature of this State ; with this deviation, however, 
that instead of empowering Congress, they have by an 
act of their own laid the recommended duties." I 
believe what you mention as a deviation is not con- 
sidered as such here. 

The recommendation of the 18 th of April, 1783, has 
these words " To invest the United States in Congress 
assembled with a power to levy for the use of the United 
States, the following duties," &ca. The State by their 
act have laid the duties, & have empowered Congress to 
levy them. The import & duties being exactly the same 
as recommended by Congress, I do not apprehend the 
deviation mentioned by your Excellency (if it is such) 
can be injurious. 

It is farther observed " Subject to this proviso, con- 
formably to the recommendation, that the act shall not 
operate until all the United States have passed acts for 
imposing the like duties." I beg leave to observe that 
this proviso in the act of Massachusetts was not strictly 
conformable to the recommendation of Congress. The 
difference is this, the duties were not to take place pre- 
vious to the supplementary funds ; but the Act of Massa- 

1786.] SAMUEL OSGOOD. 101 

chusetts permits the collection of duties notwithstanding 
the States may not have granted the supplementary 
funds, which amount by the Estimate of April 18 th , 1783, 
to 1,500,000 dollars. The proviso in the recommen- 
dation of the 18 th April, is " That none of the preceding 
resolutions shall take effect until all of them shall be 
acceded to by every State." 

You mention that a warrant had issued on the Treas- 
urer to pay to the Loan Officer the balance against the 
State in old emission, & that the Treasurer had paid it. 

Perhaps some of the States may object to this pay- 
ment & blame the Board of Treasury for permitting it. 
M r Appleton, previous to receiving it, wrote for our 
instruction in this matter. I then observed to M r Liv- 
ingston, that to avoid an idea of partiality, I wished him 
to consider the question maturely for himself, & that 
whatever his judgement might be, I should, without I 
could give a good reason against it, conform thereto ; he 
agreed to instruct M r Appleton to receive it. And I am 
at present clear in the opinion that our instruction was 
right; tho' some of the Delegates of our State have con- 
versed with me upon the subject since they saw your 
message, & seem to differ from me in opinion. 

Your observations on the balance due from the State 
in new emission, if I have a write [right] understanding 
of the matter, do not perfectly agree with the fact. 

You will observe by the book forwarded to your 
Excellency that the United States four tenths of the 
new emission in the State of Massachusetts amounted 

to 598,000 dollars 

The United States have drawn out 

of M r Appleton's hands . 530,802.4 
Eemaining in M r Appleton's 

hands subject to the orders 

of the United States . . 67,197.86 



The aforesaid balance being subject to the orders of the 
United States, & the State of Massachusetts having no 
controul over it, the Board of Treasury may put it in 
circulation when they please, & the State would have 
to redeem it because it is issued on her funds. Whilst 
the new emission continues at three or four for one, we 
think it not right, to put it into circulation ; because the 
State has already a credit for it, with the United States 
equal to specie. The balance which you have referrence 
to, I apprehend not to be against the State ; for that 
balance has been in the hands of the Loan Officer for 
several years ; & the United States have not seen fit to 
make use of it. Whatever new emission the State may 
have paid to the United States ; whatever may have been 
destroyed or burnt by the State ; yet the balance in M r 
Appleton's hands will remain the same. That the State 
of Massachusetts has a credit with the United States for 
the 67,1 97||- dollars in M r Appleton's hands I apprehend 
to be indisputable. The only disputable point will be, 
whether the State provided such funds for its redemption 
as to keep up its credit & to entitle her to an equal 
specie credit. 

If your Excellency in the aforesaid observations had 
referrence to the requisitions of Congress for new emis- 
sion, on which the State of Massachusetts (with all the 
other States) appears to have paid nothing, then what I 
have said above will not be applicable. If I am mistaken 
in any thing I have said above, I flatter myself your 
Excellency will pardon me ; if I am not, I shall be abun- 
dantly satisfied with having communicated my sentiments 
on your excellent Address. 

I am, with great respect, your Excellency's most obed* 

Samuel Osgood. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r . 

1786.] JAMES BOWDOIN". 103 


Boston, June 24 th , 1786. 
His Exc t Nath 1 Gorham, Esq", 

President of Congress. 

Sir, — I had the honour of your Excellency's letters 
of the 18 th of May & 17 th of June. Of the first, on y fc 
subject of a mint and a consequent coinage proposed to 
be established by Congress, I availed myself in a message 
to the General Court, which was accompanied with the 
report of a Com tee of Council upon that head. 

That report originated from a Resolve of the Court at 
y e preceeding session for referring to y e consideration of 
y e Gov r & Council two memorials, wherein the memo- 
rialists prayed for liberty, on certain conditions to be 
performed by them, to coin copper money of several 
denominations. It was found by the Com tee that y e 
government could make a clear profit of 50 T c* by 
establishing a mint of their own for that purpose ; and 
they were of opinion that if it should be judged eligible 
to have a coinage of copper it should be undertaken on 
the government account. The message & report have 
been referred to a Com tee , but as they know by a para- 
graph of your letter quoted in the message, that Con- 
gress have the report of the Treasury Board on this 
subject under consideration, and that many inconven- 
iencies would result from y e States acting in this matter 
seperately, I presume they will postpone the thoughts of 
a coinage until they know the determination of Congress 
concerning it. 

I am sorry to find by your letter of the 17 th and by the 
account of taxes paid into the Continental Treasury from 
Nov r , 1784, to March, 1786, that Massachusetts does not 
hold that rank in her payments which she formerly did. 

* Nathaniel Gorham was born in Charlestown May 27, 1738, and died there June 11, 1796. 
He took an active part in public affairs from an early period down to the formation of the 
Federal Constitution, and was for a short time President of the Continental Congress. See 
Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. ii. p. 688. — Eds. 


Some of the Court however satisfy themselves with the 
idea that if all the payments of y e States, as well those 
before as since Nov r , 1784, are taken collectively, Massa- 
chusetts will still hold her rank ; and they suppose that 
when all accounts shall be settled a large balance will 
appear to be due to her. 

These ideas have had their influence in the House of 
Representatives in procuring from time to time a post- 
ponement of the grant of the supplementary aid, which 
has been the principal subject of debate for the greater 
part of the last ten days. In considering it some people 
wish to make a distinction between the debt due to 
foreigners and the debt due to individuals the inhabitants 
of the United States ; and ground the distinction on rea- 
sons that do not discover any great delicacy of sentiment 
in point of morality. What will be the issue of the 
debate is very uncertain. 

I am of opinion with you that unless the States are 
more attentive to the requisitions of Congress and do 
exert themselves to pay the arrearage-taxes, concerning 
which as relative to this State I have several times mes- 
saged the General Court, the federal government must 
cease and the union with it. To prevent such a catas- 
trophe would it not be proper to apply to Gov r Clinton, 
& urge him to convene the Assembly of New York for 
the purpose of altering their impost act so as to make it 
admissible by Congress ? Such an application, and the 
inadmissibility of that Act in its present form, would 
justify him in taking such a measure. When convened, 
a delegation from Congress would probably convince 
them of the necessity of their making such an alteration. 
A like delegation to each of the other deficient States 
seems also necessary : without which it is next to cer- 
tain, you will not be able to get the revenue system 

My respectful regards to your brethren, the Massa- 

1786.] WILLIAM YASSALL. 105 

chusetts delegates, to whose acceptable letters I shall 
reply when I am a little more at leisure. In the mean 
time permit me to congratulate you on your appointment 
to the presidial chair of Congress ; and to assure your 
Excellency that I am, with great esteem, 

S r , yr. most obed* hble. serv*. 


Clapham Common, July 26, 1786. 

Sir, — I am honoured with your Excellency's obliging 
answer of the 24 of April to my letter of the 19 of August 
last, and am happy that your Excellency thinks I have 
given a fair state of my case and have reasoned justly 
upon it. 

Your Excellency has been so kind as to hint to me 
that it has been said in the Gen 1 Court, that the 
absentees withdrawing from their country in the time 
of the common distress, they withdrew their personal aid 
wholly, and their pecuniary aid as far as they could, 
therefore the estates they left behind ought not only to 
furnish an equivalent for both, but a considerable sum 
for the anxiety and distress the non-absentees experi- 
enced and risk they ran of forfeiture of estate and life 
had Britain succeeded. Further that that anxiety, dis- 
tress, & risk were brought upon them by the machina- 
tions of the absentees in concurrence with the British 
ministry and that this last would justly absorb their 
whole estate were it ever so large. 

I will reply to this reasoning as far as it respects me 
personally : viz., I am a native of Jamaica, where f of all 
my estate lies, was never concerned in any business, nor 
ever got one farthing in any one of the United States, 
but lived intirely on the income of my estate in Jamaica, 
and spent £50,000 sterling in the United States, every 


farthing of which I received from my Jamaica estate. I 
lived in the United States from choice, because I was 
pleased with the people & government. This demon- 
strates my friendly disposition to the United States. If I 
had removed to Jamaica, my native place, I should have 
removed to a place as much under the acknowledged 
authority of the King of Great Britain as any part of the 
British dominions. I removed from necessity, not from 
choice, to Great Britain, that I might have a commu- 
nication with my estate in Jamaica on which I depended 
to maintain my family. I never bore arms in my life, it 
being contrary to my religious principles. I never gave, 
subscribed, or promised one farthing towards raising sol- 
diers, or towards any hostile attempt against any one 
of the United States. I have never received, solicited, 
or been promised one farthing or the least favor from 
the British government. I shall not receive the lowest 
compensation from the British government for my losses 
in America, solely & for no other reason but because I was 
a sincere friend to the United States, and would not take 
part with Great Britain against them. I never aided or 
abetted the King's fleet or army : so far from it, that as 
soon as hostilities began I left the protection of the 
King's fleet and army at Boston and went to Nantucket 
(where I had the honor of conversing with your 
Excellency), and put myself under the protection of 
Massachusetts State. As to my withdrawing my per- 
sonal aid wholly in the time of the common distress, I 
answer, First, It is against my religious principles to 
bear arms. Secondly, that if my religious principles 
would have allowed me to bear arms I could not have 
rendered any personal aid on acco* of my age and bodily 
infirmities, being upwards of 60 years and on acco* of 
indisposition utterly incapable of bearing any fatigues 
or hardships. Further, it is manifest that the good 
people of Massachusetts State did not want my advice 

1786.] WILLIAM YASSALL. 107 

or counsel on public affairs, as they never elected me to 
any office in the State, except the high & honourable 
office of a constable for the town of Boston. As to my 
withdrawing my pecuniary aid as far as I could, I 
answer, that I left behind me all the estate I had in 
Massachusetts, all which was purchased with money which 
I received from my Jamaica estate, and the State has had 
the possession and benefit of the whole of my estate in 
Massachusetts for eleven years past. This clearly demon- 
strates that I have abundantly afforded my pecuniary 
aid to the State. The foregoing clearly proves that 
however forcibly the reasoning of the Gen 1 Assembly 
may operate against other absentees, it cannot be applyed 
to or operate against me. 

Your Excellency thinks that as my case essentially 
differs from that of many others I have ground to expect 
a favourable consideration of it, and having this idea of it, 
should I think proper to apply to the General Court, your 
Excellency has been so obliging as to assure me that you 
will with great pleasure give any advice or assistance in 
your power to my attorney in conducting the application, 
for which I return your Excellency my sincere thanks. 

Presuming on your Excellency's benevolence I have 
wrote to D r Lloyd, and desired him to consult with your 
Excellency about exhibiting a petition to the Gen 1 Court 
praying that Oliver Wendell, Esq., may be directed to pay 
to me or my attorney the money he has of mine in his 
hands, arising from the sale of my household furniture, 
amounting to about £600 lawful money, and request the 
favor of your Excellency to advise him how to proceed 
in conducting the application, and to assist him in it. I 
have the honor to be, with every sentiment of esteem 
and regard, 

Your Excellency's most obed fc and much obliged hum 6 


William Vassall. 


May it please your Excellency — 

Inclosed are the observations wished .for last even g . 
When I finished them I had no expectation of seeing 
the Judges this morn g , but I have since shewn them 
the inclosed, and they are pleased not to disapprove 
of them. 

I will do myself the honour of accept g your Excellency's 
polite invitation of dining with you to-day. 

I am, with great respect, your Exc ys most obed* & 
humble serv* 

Theop. Parsons. 

Court House, Sat? Morns. 

Indorsed by Governor Bowdoin : "Mr. Parsons' opinion concerning y e 
Conduct of a Sheriff in regard to Riots. Aug st , 1786." 


Some Brief Observations on the Authority' of the Sheriff to raise 
the Power of the County. 

The Sheriff may raise the Posse to enable him to exe- 
cute any warrant duly issued by lawful authority ; or to 
suppress any riot, rout, or unlawful assembly in his view 
without warrant ; and in some other cases not now neces- 
sary to mention. 

A riot is when three or more persons unlawfully as- 
semble together to commit with force an unlawful act, or 
a lawful act in & forcible manner, and do in fact engage in 
the commission of such act. 

A rout is when three or more persons unlawfully 
assemble together to commit with force an unlawful 

* Theophilus Parsons, the eminent jurist and Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial 
Court of Massachusetts, was born in Byfield Feb. 24, 1750, and died in Boston Oct. 30, 
1813. See Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. iv. p. 664; Memoir of 
Theophilus Parsons by his Son. — Ens. 

1786.] POWERS OF A SHERIFF. 109 

act or a lawful act in a forcible manner, and make 
some movements towards the commission of the act, 
but do not in fact engage in it. 

An unlawful assembly is when three or more persons 
assemble together to commit with force an unlawful act 
or a lawful act in a forcible manner, but make no move- 
ments towards the commission of the act. These defi- 
nitions will be found sufficiently accurate for my present 
purpose, tho' perhaps not expressed with such technical 
precision as to include all offences of this kind. 

The Sheriff may clearly in either of these cases collect 
the power of the county to disperse the persons above 
described, and to apprehend and commit them until he 
can convey them to some magistrate for examination ; 
and he may use all the force necessary to answer these 

A question may arise, when may the Sheriff safely 
determine that a collection of people in his view is an 
unlawful assembly, for when they are guilty of a rout or 
riot there can be no doubt, as their conduct at the time 
will exhibit the most striking evidence. In considering 
this question I shall confine myself to a collection of 
people formed for the purpose of obstructing the Courts 
of Justice in the execution of their office. 

If a number of people were to collect together peace- 
ably to petition the Justices not to open the Court or to 
adjourn it, without any intention or intimation of violence 
in case the petition was rejected and without intending 
to intimidate the Justices either by their number or arms, 
perhaps it may be doubtful whether it would be an un- 
lawful assembly within the foregoing definition ; but such 
a case as this probably never has happened nor ever will 
happen. But if the people threaten the Justices to in- 
duce them to comply with the petition, or come armed 
with muskets, swords, clubs, or weapons of offence to 
terrify the Justices into a submission, I think there can 


be no doubt but that it is such an unlawful assembly as 
will justify the Sheriff in using the power of the county 
to disperse it and to apprehend the persons who compose 
it. If they fill the Court-House, or the avenues to it, so 
that the Justices cannot enter, having met for the pur- 
pose of preventing the sitting of the Court, this is more 
than an unlawful assembly, it is a rout, as they have 
made some movements towards the commission of the 
unlawful act for which they were assembled. If they 
refuse to move out of the way when required by the 
Sheriff & oppose him with force, it is then clearly a riot. 

Prudence will direct the Sheriff in either of these cases, 
first to use peaceable methods & command the collection 
of people to desist from their purposes and to disperse. 
But if these methods should prove insufficient, his duty 
will then direct him to use the necessary force to obtain 
this end, and if it cannot be obtained without firing upon 
the people engaged thus unlawfully, he may safely fire 
upon them, and the law will justify him and all those 
who obey his orders. If the militia are assembled & the 
Sheriff is obliged to use force he may require their assist- 
ance & they are bound to obey him. But then perhaps 
they are not to be considered as soldiers, but as citizens 
under the command of the Sheriff and not of their militia 
officers. However if the Sheriff directs their officers to 
order the militia to fire, and they accordingly fire, I con- 
ceive the militia will be justified in firing, nay that it is 
their duty to fire as much as if they had received those 
orders personally from the Sheriff, their officers being 
in such case only servants to the Sheriff. But firing on 
the rioters should be avoided till it is found that no less 
degree of force will disperse them. 

But suppose the people unlawfully assemble to obstruct 
the sitting of the Court, but neither previously require 
the Justices to omit their duty nor fill the Court-House 
nor the passages to it, but remain quiet intending to move 


when the Justices are proceeding to the Court-House, what 
is prudent for a Sheriff to do in this case ? 

As it may in some cases be difficult to prove the un- 
lawful intent with which people assemble when they 
make no motion towards their unlawful design, perhaps 
the most prudent way for the Sheriff will be to pro- 
vide himself with a sufficient force to protect the Court 
in the execution of their office, and if he cannot persuade 
the people to disperse, to wait till they make some move- 
ments towards their unlawful design, and then if gentler 
methods will not do to repel them with force. 

These few observations are thrown together in great 
haste and I have no time to consult a book upon the sub- 
ject, I therefore intreat that they may be submitted to 
the opinion of some gentlemen of the law, or of the 
Judges, before they are made the ground of any meas- 
ures whatever. 


To the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of 
Boston, in reply to their Address, voted in public Town 
Meeting assembled at Fanueil Hall on Monday, the 
11 th of September, 1786. 
My Fellow Citizens, — The Address with which you 
have honoured me affords me great satisfaction ; as you 
thereby not only bear testimony against the illegal meas- 
ures taken within several counties of this Commonwealth 
to prevent the due execution of the laws, but give the 
strongest assurances of your unvaried determination to 
co-operate in support of constitutional government. 

The best constitution of government is but of little 
value if the people to whom it belongs will not support 
it when infringed ; especially when the infringement is 

* The Address to which this is the answer is printed in Boston Rec. Com. Reports, 
vol. xxxi. pp. 125, 126. - Eds. 


of so capital a nature as to endanger or render pre- 
carious the due administration of justice whose sacred 
rights have in the instances referred to been so flagrantly- 

If the Courts of Justice are not permitted to sit, or sit- 
ting are interrupted in their proceedings, the great end 
of government, the security of life, liberty, and property, 
must be frustrated, and government so far laid prostrate. 
If such be the case in any of the counties of the Common- 
wealth where the good people have in a constitutional 
way been called upon by government to assist the 
sheriffs in the execution of their official duty, as relative 
to the sitting of the judicial Courts and have withheld 
their assistance, does it not behove such to consider the evil 
tendency of such supineness and inattention ? and whether 
it does not expose their persons and property to the vio- 
lent and fraudful attempts of wicked and designing men, 
who being freed from all restraint of law will be encour- 
aged to make such attempts, and thus destroy the most 
essential benefits expected to be derived from our excel- 
lent constitution ? and who but themselves will they have 
to blame for such unhappy consequences ? 

The true causes of the difficulties that have arisen will 
probably be enquired into by the General Court at their 
approaching session, when it is hoped they will apply 
adequate and suitable means for removing them : in 
doing which it is my duty and will be my happiness to 
contribute to the utmost of my power. 

As the worthy inhabitants of the Town of Boston have 
been distinguished for their zeal and patriotism on past 
occasions, and particularly so when with a remarkable 
unanimity they adopted the present constitution of gov- 
ernment, so it gives me the highest satisfaction to observe 
in them the like zeal and patriotism in full vigour operat- 
ing for its preservation & defence. 

1786.] WILLIAM GORDON. 113 


Stoke Kewingtox, Sept r 28, 1786. 

My good Sir, — I congratulate you most sincerely upon 
your late passage & procession over Charles River ; & am 
glad that the glorious day happened in the time of your 
being governour.* Your continuance in the chair is what 
[ expected ; but whether your abilities, seconded by the 
sensible exertions of others, have not ruined your influ- 
ence, must be determined by the next election. Depend 
upon it, if the country members can lead their electors, 
they will make you suffer for having jockeyed them out 
of their fall wages & winter perquisites, by completing the 
business of the last session so effectually as to adjourn the 
Court till next Jan y . Was ever such a thing heard of, 
since S r F. Bernard revenged himself upon them before 
he left the country by proroguing them to Jan y 10 th ? If 
you & your supporters practise such kind of patriotism as 
distinguished the last session, you & they must fall, or the 
State will rise & the blood suckers who wish to stick to it 
like ticks be reduced to the dire necessity of learning to 
be useful members of society. However you have my 
blessing, as good as the arch-bishop's of Canterbury. Go 
on & profit under the smiles of the great Governour 
of the universe. Your bridge I hope will in time turn 
into stone by the help of masons, of free-masons ; for salt 
water will not produce petrifaction. But what say you 
to an iron bridge ? I have sent you the plan of one for 
your amusement. Great minds which have been con- 
versant with great subjects are not given to wonder at 
every strange operation of art or nature. And now 
before I forget it (I shall think of myself by & by) let me 
mention that I have a nephew by M rs Gordon's side named 

* The bridge between Boston and Charlestown was opened with great ceremony by 
Governor Bowdoin Sept. 17, 1786. — Eds. 



Field,* one of the best names upon the face of the earth, 
who finishes his apprenticeship the next month, after hav- 
ing faithfully & steadily served the noted Mess rs Nairne & 
Blunt, opticians, mathematical instrument makers, &c, 
&c, &c. He has made himself master of every branch. 
I can with safety to my own character recommend him 
as a good hand, such as has given his masters great satis- 
faction. He will set up for himself. Your Excellency's 
encouragement & interest among your friends will be 
owned as a great favour conferred upon me. 

I proceed to answer some questions which I apprehend 
you are ready to ask. I shall not be able to publish so 
soon as I intended ; but shall make as much haste as good 
speed. Several on this side the water have the protec- 
tion of the law against libels ; & as they will be likely to 
suffer by the truth, I must give it in that artful guarded 
way that even the fangs of law cannot fasten upon me, 
or they may hoist me into the pillory which is a post I 
am not fond of occupying, besides plundering me of all 
the profits I wish to gain from the History. Jn respect 
to culprits in the western world, I can safely say any 
thing do I keep to the truth, & relate it not as one who 
enjoys the follies & vices of others, but as an impartial 
faithful historian. We are at present with my brother 
Field & shall probably remain with him till Christmas, 
unless some settlement should offer before. Have no 
immediate prospect of any, but an exercising reliance 
upon the divine wisdom & goodness. It would be a 
blunder in me to touch upon British politics when you 
have a correspondence with M r John Adams. You have 
so much upon your hands that I can scarce expect an 
answer ; but if you can find no leisure to write employ 
our common friend D r Waterhouse as deputy in the pres- 
ent case. M r8 Gordon joins in presenting best regards 

* Mrs. Gordon was a daughter of John Field, a London apothecary of considerable 
reputation. See 2 Proceedings, vol. xvii. p. 302 note. — Eds. 

1786.] SAMUEL DEXTER. 115 

to your Excellency, your lady, son & daughter, grand- 
daughter & son. Pray remember me to brother Thacher, 
& tell him that if he means I should correspond with him, 
he must tell me so in many words. I remain, with great 

Your Excellency's sincere friend & very humble 

William Gordon. 


M E Dexter presents his dutiful compliments to his 
Excellency the Governour, and, while he sincerely pities 
him under his increased public burthens, thanks him 
most heartily for the high satisfaction which the worthy 
and judicious part of the Commonwealth must derive 
from his late speech. They will entertain the pleasing 
thought that, if the two Houses should observe the same 
propriety of conduct, as great a degree of energy may 
be restored to government as can consist with a con- 
stitution which, though excellently calculated for good 
Christians and philosophers, is by far too democratical 
for the ignorant and unprincipled multitude. But how- 
ever disappointed good men may perhaps be in their 
expectations of the most salutary effects from the supreme 
magistrate's exertions, for want of the assistance which 
nevertheless they hope will be afforded him ; yet that 
firmness of spirit and true dignity of sentiment which 
he has discovered, must add, if possible, to the great 
respectability of character he before possessed in Europe 
as well as America ; nor can it prove otherwise, although 
this should unhappily for the people be the last year 
of his administration. M r D. has been confined almost 
wholly by great pain for more than three months past, 
or he would have done himself the honour of waiting 
upon his Excellency on the first breaking out of the 


rebellious spirit, and run the risque of being thought 
impertinent while he obtruded his opinion respecting the 
most probable means of subduing it. He never enter- 
tained an idea that coaxing could answer any good 
purpose. He knows too well the temper of these degen- 
erate sons of worthy ancestors to suppose they can be 
reclaimed by soft and lenient methods. Giving way in 
any degree will be dangerous. All reasoning too would 
be lost upon them except the ultima ratio regum. But 
while M r D. ventures to write thus freely, because con- 
fidentially, he has not the vanity to imagine he can offer 
any thing in aid of the wisdom of his Excellency, which 
will be diligently employed in devising and recommend- 
ing to the legislative body the best adapted measures for 
restoring tranquility, good order, and due submission to 
the laws. 

While M r D. is sure no appointments to offices of a 
civil nature will be made but of men of the best political 
principles, he laments that the choice of military officers 
is by the constitution with the people. In some instances 
may it not be said with the mob? Were it otherwise 
the prospect would be much more agreable. 

This, which was intended for a short billet, is grown 
into an address. The Governour will condescend to accept 
the good intention ; and though he should deem it pre- 
sumption from a man now in private life, his urbanity 
will prevent that censure which it may be thought to 
Roxbury, Octo r 3 d , 1786. 


An estimate of the Number of Kebels that would 
march under the direction of Shays in the County of 
Hampshire, should the contest be in said county, and the 
towns where they belong, viz. 




N° bro! on 




















New Salem 
















Orange & Warwick 









Should the contest 




carry 'd to Worcester, 




numbers would deminish 



more than one third. 



The County of Berkshire 



would probably furnish Shays 



in Hampshire, with 5 or 




men, but their numbers 



would lessen on a march to 

West Springfield 


Worcester nearly one half. 



Long Meadow 













Indorsed by Governor Bowdoin : " Maj Shepard's Estimate of the N° of 
Insurgents in Hampshire, Dec. 14, 1786." 



Shrewsbury, Decern' 16, 1786. 

Sir, — Your Excellency's letter of the fourteenth in- 
stant came duly to hand ; in answer thereto can only 
say, the whole force of the insurgence in the three upper 
counties that will assemble at Worcester, I estimate at 
fifteen hundred ; and in my opinion the most likely way 
to prevent the sheding of blood is to have a desided 
superiority on the part of government: the conflict will 
be shorter and less severe in that way than any other. 
It will be requiset to have from the lower counties a 
force double to the insurgence : that will serve as 
a stimulus to the militia in this county to turn out in 
support of government : this plan will convince the in- 
surgents that they are not the people, as they affect to 
call themselves. I make no doubt the militia will be 
content to continue in service until the matter is settled 
in the county of Worcester, if tolerably supplied. The 
militia law makes provision for their supply in such 
cases. The better way in my opinion would be to con- 
tract with some person or persons to supply them, which 
might easily be done, was not public credit so very low. 
Could any person be supplyed with cash in the last men- 
tioned way the resources of the three western counties 
would be sufficient to support the forces on the part of 
government for months. Your Excellency wishes to be 
informed how many militia may be depended upon in 

* Artemas Ward was born in Shrewsbury, Mass., Nov. 27, 1727, graduated at Harvard 
College in 1748, and died in his native town Oct. 27, 1800. He entered public life at an 
earl} r age, and began his military career as a major in 1755. In October, 1774, he was 
appointed a brigadier general by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, and in the 
following May he was made commander in chief of the military forces around Boston. 
In June, 1775, he was named by Congress first in the list of major generals, but he was 
obliged in a few months to resign on account of impaired health. He continued, however, 
to take as active a part in public affairs as his health would permit, and for upward of 
three years he was a member of Congress under the Constitution. See Appleton's 
Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. vi. pp. 347, 348; A. H. Ward's Ward Family, 
pp. 45-49. — Eds. 

1786.] WILLIAM SHEPARD. 119 

the three western counties, that is impossible for me at 
this time to determine: had the address to the people 
got to the several towns it would have satisfied many ; 
but it hath not come to minister or selectmen of this 
town. The warrant you was pleased to inclose to me is 
still in my hands, not thinking it best at present to 
deliver it to the person to whom it is directed without 
your order for so doing. 

I am, with great respect & esteem, 

Your Excellency's obedient, humble servant. 

Artemas Ward. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r . 


Westfield, 17 th Decern*-, 1786. 

Sir, — I am now to acknoledge the honor of your 
Excellency's letter of the fourteenth instant by Maj r 
Shephard just come to hand. I am aware of the policy 
of some persons to let the insurgents proceed, presuming 
that they will undeceive themselves or precipitate with 
their own rashness, or that they might be reclaimed with 
moderate and lenient measures, and in support of such 
an hypothesis advance that in government as much judge- 
ment is necessary to know when to recede as in mer- 
chants when to loose, which hypothesis, altho I do not 
fully admit, I shall not wholly reject. But I would beg 
leave to suggest that it appears unseasonable and ill timed 
to either procrastinate or introduce lenient measures 
untill the government have given proofs of their force 
and ability, otherwise clemency appears to proceed from 
inability or pusillanimity, and comes with an ill grace. 

It now appears absolutely expedient to enforce the 
laws since neither the rashness of the insurgents or the 

* For a notice of General Shepard, see 7 Mass. Hibt. Coll., vol. v. p. 5 note. — Eds. 


mitigating steps of Assembly have been productive of 
the tranquillity that many expected. 

To begin with supporting the Worcester Court, as 
your Excellency mentions, it will be necessary to save 
the risk of blood that two thousand should march from 
the lower counties, I should suppose, under the command 
of General Lincoln, whose high reputation would avail 
greatly in such an expedition. 

From this county and Berkshire I can march one 
thousand ; what number can be raised in Worcester 
County I am uncertain, but should suppose one thou- 
sand, which constitutes in all four thousand which under 
the command of General Lincoln would be amply suffi- 
cient to restore order and peace in a very short time. 
Respecting supplies I believe provisions can easily be 
furnished from this county, but spirits and some other 
articles must be sent from Boston; however, it appears 
that the bussiness would not require a very long time. 

I shall take early opportunity to transmitt your Excel- 
lency further information and more particular plans if 
coercion takes place, which should it be the case a system 
for supplying the whole ought previously to be con- 
certed, tho I can furnish provisions for the troops of my 
division if it is best. 

I have mentioned Berkshire above, altho it may not 
be worth while for them to march, as I can raise one 
thousand in this county willing to tarry one or perhaps 
two months in case they should be wanted ; however 
your Excellency will have the opinions of the Generals 
Lincoln, Brooks, and Cobb capable of better plan than I 
can be at present, especially at this distance and so little 
time to weigh the affair. 

I am y r Excellency's most obed* hum. servant. 

W M Shepard, Maj r Gen 11 . 

His Excellency James Bowdoin. 

1786.] ELEAZAR PORTER. 121 


Springfield, Dec r 26 th 1786. 
May it please your Excellency : 

The Justices of the Courts of General Sessions of the 
Peace and the Court of Common Pleas which by a late 
Resolve of the General Court were directed to be holden 
at this time & place met for the purpose of discharging 
the duties of their respective offices ; before the Justices 
had arrived a number of men armed with firelocks took 
possession of the ground near the Court House with an 
avowed design to prevent the Courts entering the House. 
As soon as a number of Justices had convened sufficient 
to constitute a Court, a committee from the insurgents 
(who were more than three hundred in number) waited 
on the Court & requested (with intimations of disagre- 
able consequences on failure of a speedy compliance) 
that the Justices would not open the said Court, they 
presented a paper signed by themselves to the Justices, 
of which the following is a copy, " Springfield, Decern* 
25 th , 1786. We Request the Honble. Judges of this 
Court not to open said Court at this Term, nor do any 
kind of business whatever, but all kind of business to 
remain as tho no such Court had been appointed. Luke 
Day. Daniel Shays. Thomas Grover." 

As no measures had been taken to collect a force for 
the support of the said Courts, and guards were placed 
at the door of the room in which the Justices had assem- 
bled, the Justices thought not only prudence but neces- 
sity required an answer of compliance, of which the 
following is a copy, " Springfield, Decern 1 " 26 th , 1786. 
The Justices of the Court of Common Pleas & the Court 
of General Sessions of the Peace now assembled at 

* Hon. Eleazar Porter was born in Hadley June 27, 1728; graduated from Yale Col- 
lege in 1748, and died in bis native town May 27, 1797. In 1777 he was made a Judge of 
the Court of Common Pleas and in 1779 Judge of Probate. Both of these offices he held 
until his death. His second wife was a daughter of Jonathan Edwards. See Dexter's 
Yale Biographies, vol. n. pp. 178, 17J. — Eds. 


Springfield, in consideration of the opposition made to 
the opening the said Courts, have determined not to do 
any business or open the said Court at this Term. Eleaz* 
Porter, on behalf of s d Courts." 

No injuries or insults were offered to individuals, and 
the people are dispersing. 

I have the honour to be on behalf of the Justices 
assembled as above, 

Your Excellency's most obedient & humble servant. 

Eleaz* Porter. 


Springfield, Dec r 27 th , a. d. 1786. 

Dear Sir, — I thank you for your letter of the 19 th in- 
stant, but did not receive it from the Post Office season- 
ably enough to have answerd it by the then next post, 
agreable to your desire ; but have now the mortification 
to inform you that the Court of Common Pleas & Gen- 
eral Sessions of the Peace which convened here yester- 
day, according to adjournment, were not permitted by 
the insurgents so much as to open and adjourn, or to 
do any kind of business ; and they obliged the Court to 
come to an agreement with them of such a nature in 
writing. The number of insurgents under arms were 
about three hundred, and more appeared to be constantly 
flocking in from all quarters ; Shays & Luke Day & one 
Grover of Montague headed this party of mad men. 
This expedition of theirs was conducted with as much 
secrecy & precaution as if it was an enterprize of the 

* Samuel Lyman was born in Goshen, Conn., Jan, 25, 1749, and graduated at Yale Col- 
lege in 1770. He first studied divinity, but with no expectation of entering the ministry, 
and afterward studied law, and began its practice at Hartford. About 1782 he removed to 
Springfield, Mass., and served in both branches of the State Legislature. He was a mem- 
ber of Congress from 1795 to 1801. He died in Springfield June 5, 1802. (See Dexter's 
Yale Biographies, vol. iii. p. 388 ) Samuel Breck was a merchant in Boston, —born April 
11, 1747, died May 7, 1809, — and father of a more famous son of the same name, who 
removed to Philadelphia, and was Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. 
(See Recollections of Samuel Breck, p. 17.) — Eds. 

1786.] SAMUEL LYMAN. 123 

greatest magnitude and importance, — not more than 
one hour before these insurgence arrived in town, the 
Sheriff told me that he had not the least apprehension 
that the Court would be interrupted by them (altho he 
knew a number of them were then under arms in West 
Springfield) and so there were no steps taken in order to 
support the Court ; neither did they request any support 
when they saw the necessity of it; but from prudential 
motives or some other motives dispensed with that sub- 
stantial aid which might have been afforded them, & 
comply ed with the illegal & unjust demands of a pack of 
villains. However, I can't say but that it may be all for 
the best ; possibly if we had attempted to have supported 
the Court, we might eventually have been obliged to call 
upon our friends who live in the interior parts of the 
Commonwealth, which would have laid the government 
party under great disadvantages, and the insurgents 
would have had every advantage arising from its being 
a central situation, so far as it respects the parts of this 
State where the disaffected inhabitants dwell. 

We are in a deplorable condition, but I don't despair, 
for I think upon the w r hole our prospect really begins to 
brighten, for the leaders of the insurgents appear de- 
jected and melancholy since their fruitless expedition to 
the eastward. They are under fearful apprehensions of be- 
ing taken & lodged with their friends, Shattuck, Parker & 
Page. It is of great importance that government exerts 
itself immediately, I think their leaders can be taken 
better now than ever. I am sure there is a spirit of en- 
ergy in government, it has appeard in the capture of 
three of these rebels, and I hope it will appear in the 
capture of three or four more of them, at least of Shays. 

My dear Friend, not only this Commonwealth but 
the union at large are in the most confused and con- 
founded condition ; we do not yet feel that sameness or 
unity of interest which is the only cement of any nation, 


and which is absolutely necessary to be felt in order to 
make us respectable & important ; but this is not surpriz- 
ing, for our national existence is but of yesterday, and 
this unity of interest is the result of time, it is the effect 
of habit, sentiment, & opinion, it is the unison of each 
of these ; but although there is such a vast variety of 
habits, sentiments, & opinions which characterize these 
States, yet I hope that that kind & beneficent Spirit that 
brooded over the surface of the great deep (the antient 
Chaos) will also inspire our political chaos, generally 
called the United States, with form & beauty & strength 
& greatness. 

I will leave off preaching, for I have been tedious and 
long enough ; but I must acid a piece of information this 
minute received, which is this, that there would have 
been no opposition to the setting of the Court had it 
not been for Shays, as they had pretty universally con- 
cluded it was best to stay at home, and make no farther 
opposition to government until Saturday of last week, 
when they received orders from Shays to meet him in 
this town on Tuesday morning then next. Shays cer- 
tainly ought to have an opportunity of seeing his friend 
Shattuck. 1 

I hope the insurgents will never know what I have 
written to you, for they might possibly kill me if 
they did. 

I am, dear Sir, your most obed* & very h ble ser*. 

Samuel Lyman. 

Dear Sir, — If you think any part of the information 
contained in this letter ought to be inserted in the public 
prints, I wish you would not make extracts from it, but 
only to publish the substance of it in manner you would 
have done, if you had received the information by word 
of mouth. 

S. Lyman. 

Samuel Breck Esq r . 

1786.] LEVI SHEPHARD. 125 


Northampton, 28 th Dec r , 1786. 

Sir, — Your Excellency will pardon me from troubling 
you when I attempt to give you a relation of the pro- 
ceedings of the insurgents since my last. 

Nothing material in respect to their movements has 
took place 'till last Monday, at which time they got in 
motion in many towns in every part of the county for 
the purpose of breaking up the Court that was to set on 
Tuesday ; but their numbers was not so great as they 
had been on the like occasion from any town, the reason 
however was obvious, as government tho't it not expe- 
dient to call out the militia at this time for its support, 
and it was tho't that Shays would only order Capt n Day 
to collect his men in & about Springfield to do the neces- 
sary work, and leave the rest of the insurgents at their 
homes. But it seems Shays would not risque the matter 
with Day, for fear (I presume) of being out generaled by 
government and ordered his men to march from more 
distant parts, so that upon the whole Shays m collected 
about 300 men on Tuesday morning at Springfield, and 
demanded of the Court not to proceed to do any kind of 
business, which was accordingly granted. They now ex- 
ult on their return and plume themselves that govern- 
ment is now yielding to their demands so fast that Shays 
informed his men when he dismissed them that he was in 
hopes that he should not find it necessary to call them out 
any more on the like occasion. 

It is manifest that Shays is very thoughtfull, and ap- 
pears like a man crouded with embarrassments, but the 
other leaders are very insolent & imperious, but I trust 
the day is not very remote that they will discover a 

* Levi Shephard, commonly called Dr. Shephard, was an apothecary in Northampton, 
and took a very prominent and active part in public affairs. He died in 1805. See Trum- 
bull's History of Northampton, vol. li. passim. —Eds. 


different deportment, however we can't expect in this 
county any thing but insolence from such fellows, so 
long as there is so little dignity & propriety of conduct 
maintained by some of the first officers of the Court of 
Common Pleas, for the fact is not less surprising than 
true than that Grover & Day was permited to set at 
the table & dine with some of the above Court at the 
time they made the demand of them not to proceed to 
do any business. 

Should there be any despatches your Excellency wou'd 
wish to forward to this county thro' this town, M r Sam 1 
Eliot (who will hand you this) will be able to forward 
them by the bearer of this, who is a faithful! person, 

I have the honor to be 

Your Excellency's most obed* & most humb 1 serv fc . 

Levi Shephakd. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq b . 

Dec r 30 th . 

Your Excellency will receive this by Maj r Lyman (who 
is aid to Gen 1 Shephard) who I did not know of his going 
to Boston when I began to write. I beg leave to refer 
your Excellency to him, as he is able to give you every 
satisfaction in respect to the public concerns of this 

I am, &c. L. S. 


Northampton, 30^ Decern', 1786. 

Sir, — I have ever conceived the General Assembly at 
their last session did every thing they possibly could, 
and even made some sacrifices in expectation of quiet- 
ing all who should not be obstinate to conviction, and 
that they had taken measures not to recede from in any 

1786.] WILLIAM SHEPARD. 127 

How far I am justified in these conceptions your 
Excellency will best determine, but since the palliating 
scheme has failed to produce those effects that were 
promised, it appears to me of the first importance to 
know whether any farther concessions from government 
are expected or not. 

I beg leave to suggest whether if the Worcester Court 
is to be supported, the Assembly ought not previously to 
meet, if not to give more energy to our operations, at 
least to remove all occasion of scruple in the most nice. 

As I have mentioned in my letter of the 14 th inst. by 
the stage, I imagine two thousand men with two com- 
panies of artillery and one hundred light horse to march 
first to Worcester from the lower counties, after part 
or all into this, and so on to Berkshire, will be amply 
sufficient to crush all opposition. 

If such a plan should be adopted they need not march 
from the lower counties untill after the insurgents have 
embodied, after which and at the same time the force of 
this county to march and form a junction or otherwise as 
incidents shall determine. We can furnish the provisions 
for the troops of this county, but the camp equippage and 
some spirits will be wanted from Boston, each of which if 
any should not be used might be returned. I should pre- 
sume the command will be given to General Lincoln, whose 
high reputation will avail much in this part of the State. 
Being now on my return from a tour through the whole 
county I am much encouraged, as I find that the Address 
with other circumstances have fixed the wavering in many 
instances, particularly in the town of Northfield which 
voted unanimously satisfied with the doings of the 
General Court. However nothing will restore order and 
peace to these counties but superior forces, which I hope 
will be introduced as soon as is possible. 

This will be delivered you by M r Lyman, one of my 
aids, who will be capable of such particular information 


as you shall wish, and will receive such communications 
for me as you shall judge necessary. 

I am your Excellency 8 most obed* hum. serv*. 

W M Shepard, Maj Gen 11 4 th Divition. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq*. 


1. Orders to be given to Gen 1 Brooks to assemble 
several of the regiments of Middlesex agreeable to the 
arrangement he has made. He supposes he can de- 
pend on 1800 men from those regiments. 

2. Orders to Col° Hall of Dorchester for detachments 
for companies from his regiment, viz : the 2 comp 8 of 
militia & 1 comp y of artillery in Dorchester. 1 company 
in Milton. 

3. Orders to Col Battelle for companies in his regi- 
ment : Capt. W ms C°, Capt. Draper's C° of militia, & Maj r 
Spooner's C° of artillery, besides a voluntier C° under L* 
Col Patten : all of Roxbury. 

4. Orders to Maj r General Titcomb at Newbury Port to 
issue orders to Col° of Ipswich ; and to Col 

of Salem to hold their regiments in readiness to march 
to Cambridge upon the call of Major Gen 1 Brooks for the 
support of the Supreme Judicial Court. 

5. Capt. Bell of the ancient x\rtill y C° 

6. Col° Bradford's Cadet C? 

7. Selectmen of Boston to endeavour to procure offi- 
cers for the Boston regiment. 

8. Maj r Davis, &c, to form volunteer companies to 
hold themselves in readiness. 

9. Major Perkins to furnish ammunition for the militia : 
to be distributed as Gen 1 Brooks shall direct. Que 7 re. 

* Printed from the original minutes in the handwriting of Governor Bowdoin. —Eds. 

1787.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 129 

If y e musketballs be connected w th y e cartridges, most of 
them will be useless on acc° of the diff * bores of y e small 

10. The Commissary Gen! to furnish needful provisions. 


Boston, Jan^ 21, 1787. 

Sir, — I have received your favour of the 19* instant. 
I am glad to hear you have taken possession of the Arse- 
nal, and that you have so respectable force with you. As 
to their supplies of beef, bread, rum, foreage, and fuel I 
must refer you to General Lincoln, who will or has fully 
informed you of the measures taken for your supply of 
these articles. You have been misinformed with respect 
to the money that has been furnished to the Commissary 
General and the Quartermaster General. I gave my 
orders to those officers to supply the militia called out 
upon this occasion with provision and other articles 
necessary for their subsistance and accomodation ; but 
they represented to me that they had not the articles 
necessary for this purpose by them, neither had they 
the money to purchase them. The friends of govern- 
ment in this and the neighbouring towns hearing of this 
difficulty offered their aid to government and generously 
subscribed that they would either furnish the articles 
wanted or money for the purpose (but to be appropriated 
solely for the subsistance and accomodation of the militia 
while in the field) in full confidence that they should be 
speedily reimbursed by the General Court, but had it not 
in idea that any part of the money should be appropri- 
ated to pay the militia ; neither has government ad- 
vanced one shilling to the militia, but must depend 
upon the General Court for their pay who have assured 
the supreme executive that compensation shall be made 


to such officers and men as should turn out upon such 
occasions ; and in case of necessity I am perswaded that 
the gentlemen of fortune and ability in your parts will as 
readily lend their aid to government upon this occasion, 
and furnish the articles needed, confiding in government 
for a speedy reimbursment as the gentlemen here have 
done. As to the arsenal at Springfield it is expected 
that you defend it at all hazards ; the particular meas- 
ures for that important purpose must be left with you as 
exigencies require. You have herewith enclosed an ex- 
tract of the resolve above referred to. 

Major General Sheppard. 


Newington-Green, Jany 22, 1787. 

Dear Sir, — You will receive with this a volume of 
Sermons which I have just publish'd in compliance with 
the request of the congregation to which I preach. 
Should you honour it with a perusal you will probably 
think me wrong on some points, but I can rely on your 
candour. I have deliver' d my confession of faith with 
freedom ; but at the same time I have endeavoured to do 
it with charity and respect for all my fellow Christians 
of different sentim ts . The chief object of my zeal is, not 
making proselytes, but promoting liberality and virtue 
and fair and amicable discussion. 

It is with particular concern, I have heard lately of 
the tumults in your State and in New Hampshire ; of 
the vile measures employ 'd in Rhode-island to give a 
currency to the paper issued there, and of many other 
events in the United States which damp the hopes of 
their friends and make their enemies triumph. It is not 
possible they should prosper till they have learnt more 
to seek true independence by despising foreign luxuries 

1787.] JONATHAN WARNER. 131 

and finding all they want within themselves ; and till also 
they can see the necessity of giving more energy to their 
federal governm*. 

All hope of a commercial treaty with this country 
seems now to be over. One consideration which I know 
influences greatly our ministers in this instance is, that 
a treaty can answer no end because there is no power in 
the United States that can enforce the observance of it. 
But I ask pardon for these remarks. Perhaps it is the 
purpose of Providence to make your country pass thro 
the school of errors and sufferings in order to make it at 
last, with more advantage, such an example and benefit 
to mankind as the friends of liberty and virtue wish to 
see it. Great indeed is the trust committed to it. 

Under a grateful sense of your kind attention, and 
with great respect I am, S r , 

Your obliged and very obed* serv*. 

Rich d Price. 

I have sent you by the desire of our Astronomer Royal 
his advertisem* of the comet expected next year. 


Worcester, Jan* 26 th , 1787. 
His Excellency Gov r Bowdoin. 

May it please your Excellency, — Early on the 
twenty-fifth instant Major General Lincoln moved from 
this place for Springfield, with all the troops which 
were here, except the regiment under the command 
of Col° Stearns and one company of artillery ; at the 

* Jonathan Warner was born in Hardwick July 14, 1744, entered the army on the 
breaking out of the Revolutionary War, and served with credit, being made a brigadier 
general by Massachusetts in 1776 and a major general in 1781. The latter office he held 
until his voluntary resignation in December, 1789. He also took an active part in civil 
affairs, and was a member of the State Senate for nine years and of the Council for two 
years. He died, Jan. 7, 1803, at Craftsbury, Vt., to which place he had gone on business. 
See Paige's History of Hardwick, pp. 524, 525. —Eds. 


same time he gave orders to me, to direct the same 
regiment & company to take under escort the pro- 
visions ordered for Springfield, and to proceed to that 
place with all possible dispatch ; the Major General Lin- 
coln further directed me to call for one thousand men 
from my division in addition to what had already been 
called for & raised. In pursuance of these orders Col 
Stearns yesterday in the afternoon moved on with all 
the troops which were then in this place, except a cap- 
tain's guard. Orders likewise were immediately issued 
to detach the above mentioned number of men, with 
directions for them to rendezvous at this place, armed & 
accoutred according to law, as soon as possible ; and 
further, being left without any troops here except the 
guard aforesaid & sensible that some time must neces- 
sarily elapse before the same order of detachment could 
be carried into effect, I sent letters to a number of influ- 
ential characters, friends to government, in the several 
towns in this county to use their influence to raise as 
many volunteers as could be spared from home, to be 
under my immediate command 'till the aforesaid order 
of detachment could be complied with, unless sooner 

I would beg leave to suggest to your Excellency that 
I conceive it improbable that the number of men required 
from my division can be properly armed and accoutred 
in this county, considering that upwards of a thousand 
men are already turned out in the support of govern- 
ment, and that many arms are in the hands of insurgents 
& persons ill-affected towards the present government. 
Your Excellency will therefore take into consideration 
the propriety of sending on a number of arms for the 
men, in case more should be raised than can be well 
equipt without the assistance of government. 

I have likewise called upon the select-men in the 
several towns to turn out of their town-stocks respectively 

1787.] JOHN BROOKS. 133 

a proper supply of ammunition for the men that shall be 
raised as aforesaid ; but as there are great divisions among 
select-men, as well as the inhabitants of towns, I concieve 
that mode of supply to be too precarious to rely upon ; 
your Excellency will judge of the expediency of for- 
warding supplies of that kind likewise. 

I have the honour to be, with the highest esteem, 
Your Excellency's ob* hum 1 ser* 

Jon a Warner, M. Gr. 

P. S. 2 o'clock, p. m. Information is this moment 
received by a gentleman who went from this place 
yesterday with General Lincoln, that a detachment from 
the insurgents under the command of Shays, consisting 
of about sixty men, advanced within General Shepard's 
lines yesterday, contrary to his express directions, that 
they refused to retire and were fired upon, and that four 
men were killed and a number more wounded, where- 
upon the remainder of that detachment of insurgents 
retreated ; but I have no official information respecting 
this matter or the present situation of the insurgents. 


Sir, — I moved to this place yesterday, when I was 
joined by a part of my division. I am now about to 
march for Worcester & expect to be joined by two more 
of my regiments. 

Upon my arrival in this town yesterday I found one 
Samuel Valentine of Hopkinton, who had come hither 
with a paper purporting to be the doings of a legal meet- 
ing of the inhabitants of the town. As the design of it 
was evidently to oppose the present movements I thought 

* Gen. John Brooks, Governor of Massachusetts from 1816 to 1823, was born at 
Medford May 31, 1752, and died there March 1, 1825. During the Revolution he served 
with distinction in the army, and afterward filled various positions in civil life. See Ap- 
pleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. i. p. d87. — Eds. 


proper to apprehend the man. He was accordingly car- 
ried before Justice Wood, who, upon finding him to be 
rather an indifferent character & willing at the same time 
to take the oath of allegiance, admitted him to bail. It 
was my opinion that the mildness of this measure, after 
the man's conduct & the conduct of the town had met the 
frowns of government, would have a better effect on 
the minds of the disaffected in this quarter than more 
vigorous punishment. We have but little to fear from 
their power, & while we treat those who have not been 
in arms with lenity there can be no complaint of an 
undue exercise of power. A copy of the paper alluded 
to is enclosed. 

I have as yet receivd no information from Gen 1 Lincoln. 
The officers & men are in good spirits and would rather 
pursue the bussiness they have undertaken than return. 

I have the honour to be, with perfect respect, Sir, 
Yr. Excellency's most obed* servt. 

J. Brooks. 

Malborough, Jany 29, 1787. 

His Excellency Governor Bowdoin. 


Durham, February 13 th , 1787. 

Sir, — Last evening I received advice from the western 
part of this State, where I have a gentleman now in wait- 
ing who bore my dispatches to the officers in that quarter, 
that on Wednesday morning last M r Shays crossed from 
Westmoreland in this State over Connecticut River into 
Vermont ; that on Tuesday he beat up for voluntiers in 
his own party to accompany him to Pultney in Vermont, 
where he said he would erect his standard, but only three 
followed him; the residue laid aside their arms & are 
gone to labor in the neighbourhood of Westmoreland for 

* For a notice of General Sullivan, see 7 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. ii. p. 227 note. —Eds. 

1787.] JOSEPH HENSnAW. 135 

their support. Captain Day with another party- remained 
at Westmoreland on Wednesday evening (his intentions 
unknown). Upon receiving this intelligence I have given 
fresh instructions & wish y r Exc y to favor me as soon as 
possible with the names of the principal insurgents as 
requested in my last, that I may take proper measures 
for apprehending and delivering them up to the State 
which has been so grossly injured by them. 

I have the honor to be, with the most exalted senti- 
ments of esteem & respect, Sir, 

Y r Excellencey's most obed* & very humble serv*. 
„ t, n v Jn° Sullivan. 

His Excellency Governor Bowdoin. 


Shrewsbury, 14 th Feb^, 1787. 

Sir, — The rebels belonging to this town, after being 
repeatedly solicited, have at length (the most of them) 
condescended so far as to take the Oath of Allegiance, 
tho', as I am informed, the greater part have not sub- 
scribed the same & a much greater part have kept back 
their arms; whether this proceeds from the indulgence 
of government, your Excellency can determine : in this 
town, where I have the means of information, the rebel- 
lious spirit seems in no degree broken & it is given out 
by those, that w 7 ithin three months the noted Shays will 
again appear with a more formidable force. Notwithstand- 
ing, I have not the most distant idea of such an event, 
yet it discovers the same rebellious spirit ; they have not 
forborne to insult some of the government's troops who 
had been frost-bitten & were on their return home. On 

* Joseph Henshaw was born in Boston Dec. 20, 1727, graduated at Harvard College in 
1748, and lived afterward at Leicester and Shrewsbury, where he died March 19, 1794. 
He was a brother of Col. William Henshaw, whose Orderly Book was printed by this 
Society in Proceedings, vol. xv., and took an active part at the beginning of the War of 
the Revolution, at which time he held the rank of lieutenant-colonel. See Washburn's 
History of Leicester, pp. 197-199 ; Ward's History of Shrewsbury, pp. 328, 829. —Eds. 


Saturday evening four of the rebels apply' d to me for the 
oath, which I declined giving till they brought and de- 
livered up their arms which they promised to do, but did 
not, yet went to Grafton & there took the oath without 
delivering their arms. The captains, Whiting & Howe, 
who are stationed in this town with two companies have 
been thro the rebel quarters inviting them to come in & 
take the oath ; how far this indulgence may answer the 
end designed by government, I cannot say, yet fear it 
may tend rather to strengthen than humble the sedi- 
tious spirit; if they are suffered to retain their arms, 
may they not on the first opportunity further insult & 
embarrass government? It is with reluctance I trouble 
your Excellency with this intelligence, considering the 
multiplicity of bussiness which must necessarily engage 
your attention, yet the fear lest the rebels in the towns 
thro'out the three counties may in like manner retain 
their arms, &c, compells me. However, trusting that 
government will effectually disqualify them from creating 
by their votes any confusion in these counties at the 
next March, April, & May town meetings, & rising again 
in arms, 

I have the honour to be, with the most dutiful respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient & most humble servant. 

Joseph Henshaw. 

Severity only will produce a slavish fear, & rebells will 
be kept in due subjection by no other. 


Pittsfield, Feb y 14, 1787. 

Dear Sir, — I recieved information this morning that 
Shays & a number of his officers were at Bennington & 

* Benjamin Lincoln was born in Hingham Jan. 24, 1733 ; died there May 9, 1810. He 
served with distinction throughout the War of the Revolution, and had the chief command 


Shaftsbury a short time since, & that they expected to 
continue some time there & at White Creek, where 
Shays has a sister, within the State of New York & 
a little distance from Bennington. Hence I have 
been induced to write to the Governour of N. York, & 
have engaged M r R. Tyler to attempt the apprehending 
those characters ; I have sent forward by him a copy 
of the doings of the Gen 1 Court, authorising your 
Excellency to issue your proclamation for the purpose 
of apprehending the leading characters in the rebellion, 
& requesting you to write to the Governours of the 
neighboring States for their aid ; also your proclamation. 
I have also sent a warrant against those characters & a 
number of others not named in the proclamation. M r 
Tyler has a recommendation to the Governours of the 
neighboring States for their aid. 

We have parties in every direction in this county, for 
the purpose of apprehending & disarming those who 
have made an improper use of their arms. Tho' these 
people are obstinate & yield with reluctance, yet they 
must be born down, & if they will not submit to 
government allured by the blessings of it they must 
bend to its force. This will be a yoke too galling for 
them long to bear ; it will soon melt them into sub- 
mission or induce them to leave the State. 
I am, dear Sir, with great esteem, 

Your Excellency's obed fc hum. serv*. 

B. Lincoln. 

N. B. Since writing the above I have been hon d with 
the receipt of your duplicate 8 th inst. 

Governor Bowdoin. 

of the forces raised for the suppression of Shays's insurrection. See Appleton's Cyclo- 
paedia of American Biography, vol. iii. pp. 728, 729 ; Bowen's Life of Lincoln, in 2 
Sparks's American Biography, vol. xiii. — Eds. 



Worcester, Feb y 17 th , 1787. 

Sir, — On Monday the 29 th of Jan y I went from Lan- 
caster for Worcester in discharge of my official duty to 
the County of Worcester & Commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts, by virtue of a warrant from your Excellency 
to me directed, to apprehend Doct r Samuel Willard of 
Uxbridge and Lieu* 1 Thomas Bicknall of Grafton & others 
in different towns. I sent a trusty person forward to 
get what information of those two persons that be needfull 
to apprehend them. The return of the person sent out 
was not so favorable as I could wish. Bicknall had gone 
out of this Commonwealth, being alarm'd on Lieu* Col. 
Luke Drury being taken, Doct r Samuel Willard removing 
to his brother's in Smithfield in the State of Rhodlsland 
for protection I made application to Generall Warner 
for a number of horse and one slay with two horses. 
With four infantree to accompany me I proceeded on 
Tuesday evening the 30. Arrived at Uxbridge about 
12 o'c. same evening ; willing to know if Willard was 
at home in Uxbridge, I sent one of the horse to inquire 
if the Doct r was at his house ; found he was not ; but 
being at Smithfield we then proceeded after him. I 
made application to Peleg Arnold, Esq r , to strengthen the 
warrant. He told me he had not offitionated as a Jus- 
tice since May last, but if he had been in office he would 
not have strengthen'd any warrant against said Willard, 
as he was sensable Willard was inocent of the crime 
alledged against him. I then applied to Judge Aldrich, 

* William Greenleaf, at the time this letter was written sheriff of Worcester and 
colonel of one of the Worcester County regiments, was born in Lancaster Aug. 25, 1738, 
and married Sarah, a daughter of Edmund Quincy and sister of the wife of John Hancock. 
He entered the army as a captain in March, 1776, and was commissioned lieutenant-colonel 
in October, 1779. He died of apoplexy in Bolton in 1792. See Lunt's Discourse on the 
Death of Hon. Thomas Greenleaf, p. 24; Mass. Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolution, vol. 
vi. p. 854; Nourse's Marriages, Births, and Deaths in Lancaster, p. 330; Worcester Spy, 
Jan. 19, 1793.— Eds. 


which made much the same excuse, only this addition, 
if it was for theft, murder, or robbery he would comply 
with my request, but to strengthen a warrant from this 
Commonwealth against said Willard he would not, al- 
though I reminded him of the consequence that would 
follow. I proceeded with my party where said Willard 
made his residence with hopes to have brought him over 
the line ; found he had gone the day before to Provi- 
dance or some other place to an intimate friend of his 
who was determined to secure him from being taken. 
The people in that State are much in the measures of 
the insurgents. I think it my duty as a supporter of 
the constitution and government of this Commonwealth 
to give your Excellency this information. As a plan has 
been lay'd by the people in Smithfield to have resqued 
said Willard had he been taken, I have sent to Boston 
agreable to a warrant from your Excellency Lieu* Col. 
Luke Drury of Grafton, Caleb Curtis of Chalton, Cap* 
Jonah Golding of Ward, & Henry Gale of Princton. I 
have in goal Cap* Artemas Dryden of Holden which 
with some other persons I shall send on for Boston soon. 
I am in sanguine expectation of sending forward more of 
said persons mentioned in said warrants. Publick meas- 
ures ware at this time a most agreable apperance. I 
take the liberty to communicate to your Excellency 
and the Hon bl Council : — 

The statement of the second regiment in the County 
of Worcester under my command ; the first order from 
the Hon bl Maj. General Warner to me directed to detach 
150 men rank & file from said regiments. Willing to 
give credit to every town within the limits of my regi- 
ment. Lancaster cherfully raised the men. Sterling 
raised there men, though with some difficulty and op- 
position. Princton through one worthy officer the 
men was procured without any trouble. Bolton and 
Berlin complied with orders, got their quotas required. 


The officers exerted them selves, except two in Lancaster, 
who have since changed there sentiments and are vollen- 
teers as privates. I think I can with justice recomend 
them to your Excellency for there commissions. There 
names are Abel Allen, Lieu*, Josiah Bowers, Ensign, both 
of Lancaster. Wish there commissions may be sent 
forward as soon as possable. Harvard has been opposed 
to the measures of government and much in measures 
of Shays. An opportunity was offer'd the companies to 
turn out vollenters. Nine only out of 28 (which was 
the town's quota) turned out. I accordingly gave the 
commissioned officers orders to draft said nineteen men ; 
the officers utterly refused to execute said orders. The 
following is a copy. 

Lancaster, Jan y 17 th 1787. 
Agreable to and complyance with orders from General 
Warner to detach 150 men from my regiment, you are 
directed and ordered to detach fourteen men from the 
companys under your command and have them equipt 
with every equipment agreable to the militia law imme- 
diately, and make return to me by Fryday next of the 
men and equipments. The men will receive marching 
orders from Col° Ephraim Sternes, who is appointed to 
take the command of them. The selectmen will attend 
to the order to them respecting supplies from time to 
time. I am with much esteem, yours, &c. 

W. Greenleaf, Col . 

Cap t Jonathan Witherbee > Tr awar j 
" Philemon Priest J narvara. 

The subalterns refused in the same manner the cap* 
did. The nine men vollenters are included in the 
twenty eight for said town. The towns have complyd 
as fully as can be expected in raising these men, ex- 
cept the town of Harvard, who still persist in opposi- 
tion to government and the measures now taken by 

1787.] WILLIAM SHEPARD. 141 

I hope some spirited measures may be taken with said 
town and officers. The second requisitions for men are 
in the same predicament with the first respecting Har- 

I have the honour to be your Excellencies most 
obedient and most humble servant. 

* W. Greenleaf, Sheriff. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq k . 


Westfield, Feb* 18 th , 1787. 

Sir, — We returned from our rout in the northwest- 
wardly part of this county to Northampton last Friday 
evening, after receiving the submission of many people 
in each town of those who had borne arms or furnished 
provisions or in any way contributed to annoy the 

The most criminal in almost every town have ab- 
sconded, insolent menaces have been and still are in 
circulation in those places at least where none of the 
troops of government have appeared, and inflammatory 
letters have been handed about to prevent the evil spirits 
of sedition and rebellion from evaporating. We expected 
a forcible opposition in several places where we have 
been, which probably was really intended by some im- 
prudent and inconsiderate persons. In many places 
they threaten still to protect, as they would call it, the 
more considerable fellows of their party. A transfer of 
real and personal property hatli been made in many 
instances, some who have fled have drove away their 
cattle, and by various artifices these people attempt to 
defraud the public of a compensation for their crimes. 

Thus it appears that many of the insurgents who sup- 
pose they are unable to cope with the government by 


force are devising every method to embarrass, to intimi- 
date, to revive the dying spirit of rebellion, and to con- 
tinue to injure the State as far as is in their power from 
revenge, from despair and from malevolence. We have 
taken the arms of these deluded people who were in 
possession of them ; but great numbers left their guns 
in. the course of a lengthy and circuitous flight, as fear 
suggested the danger of returning to their families with 
arms. Such are to reclaim & resign them. The greater 
part of those to whom the oath has been administered ap- 
peared to be fully convinced of their foolish and wicked 
conduct and I believe will not resume their opposition. I 
have not received any return from the Justices who acted 
with other detachments of the troops whose operations 
were under my direction, but the people in general who 
have not fled into Vermont or elsewhere have taken 
the oath of allegiance, and have resigned their arms in 
all those places w 7 here the troops of government have 

From present appearances and prospects much decision 
and vigour will I think be necessary on the part of the 
Legislature, and this vigour and decision will undoubtedly 
produce the desired events. Effectually to rivet in their 
minds a compleat conviction of the force of government 
and the necessity of an entire submission to the law T s these 
malcontents must see a considerable force in each of these 
three upper counties. Removing too soon that force by 
which alone they have been quelled, before the idea of 
their inferiority has become familiar and established in 
their minds, might be productive of pernicious conse- 
quences. Five hundred in each of these counties may 
suffice, with what force may be raised occasionally of the 
well affected inhabitants. 

Whether it hath proceeded from the desire of avoiding 
the payment of the duties of excise solely, or not, the 
tavern keepers and retailers have generally been very 

1787.] EOYALL TYLER. 143 

seditious, their houses have been the common rendez- 
vous for the councils and the comfort of these people. A 
total disqualification for a limited time or for ever of en- 
joying those privileges ought certainly in my opinion to 
be the subject of serious discussion with the General 

Nothing very particular as yet hath been communi- 
cated from General Lincoln to me. 

I have written a very similar letter to this to the 
Speaker of the House, and am, Sir, with much respect, 
Your Excellency's most obedient servant. 

W M Shepard. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq k . 


Bennington, Feb. 20, 1787. 

Sir, — I was both honored & gratified by your letter 
accompanying the proclamation. 

I repeat, Sir, if I fail of success it will not be for want 
of my utmost exertions. 

At White Creek Adam Wheeler was taken by one of 
my emissaries the day before yesterday, carried two miles 
& an half, & then rescued by forty odd Yorkers who car- 
ried him back in triumph to a large mob. Wiley is said 
to have been taken. I laid a plan for that purpose, but 
as I have no regular account of its success I suppose the 
report without foundation, or that he is apprehended by 
some other party. 

Please to send me the Act declaring a rebellion to 
exist in the State ; the resolve requesting the Governor 

* Royall Tyler was born in Boston July 18, 1757, and died in Brattleborough, Vt., 
Aug. 16, 1826. He studied law in the office of John Adams, and was an aide to General 
Lincoln in Shays's insurrection. Subsequently he removed to Vermont, and was made a 
judge of the Supreme Court in 1794, and in 1800 Chief Justice. He was a recognized wit 
and a frequent writer for the press, being the author of several plays. See Appleton's 
Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. vi. p. 201. — Eds. 


to write to the neighboring States ; and an affectionate 
letter to Gov. Chittenden. 

M r Jones will inform you my motives for this. I have 
entrusted him with matters unfit to be communicated on 
paper. Please to admit him to a private audience. 

There is a certain embrio government which is as weak 
as water ; it will be like that spilt on the ground, not to 
be gathered very soon, or I am mistaken. 

I have the most alarming accounts from our frontier 
posts. Something must have gone wrong, unknown to 
you. I know that it is the duty of soldiers not to look 
behind them. It is my duty to proceed : & I will 

The soldiers on the frontiers, many of them, before this 
will reach you will leave Col. Hagar & Major Toy. One 
whole company of Major Toy's command will doubtless 
leave him, their time having expired. Many soldiers are 
willing to enlist, but there are not enlisting orders or 
even invitations to them to enlist. The officers have 
been told by me & I am sure that I heard you drop 
the sentiment publickly, that as many of them as would 
tarry & enlist men for 4 months should have rank. They 
have some of them procured lists of those men who are 
willing to tarry, but are now alarmed with the news that 
they are to be superceeded by the officers of Berkshire. 
It would be vain in me to observe upon this to you. 

I am the servant of my country and hope yet to render 
them very acceptable service. 

Capt. James Varnum of Wood's regiment can be of 
essential service to me. If he is not at too great distance 
please to send him to me at Bennington. Let him go to 
Esq r Ticknor's house. The watchword when he meets 
me is / have got a great cold. He will come in disguise. 
I am, with the highest respect, 

R. Tyler. 

Major Gen. Lincoln. 



Pittsfield, Feb? 20 th , 1787. 

Dear Sir, — I was the last evening honor'd with the 
receipt of your Excellency's favor of y e [blank] covering 
the acts of the General Court, your proclamations, and 
the money by the Hon bl M r Vernum. The whole was 
pleasing, interesting, and the arrival of it very opportune. 

I have now such assurances that the two regiments of 
men will be soon raised that I can report with great con- 
fidence to your Excellency that nothing farther will be 
necessary on the part of government speedily to com- 
pleat the business than to forward the money ; the whole 
for the non-commissioned officers & privates will amount 
to the sum of £1111. 12, agreeably to the inclosed esti- 
mate. The officers' half month pay must be added. I 
would have prevented .this trouble, had I known the 

I have to solicit that three hundred & fifty pounds 
might be immediately sent on to Col. Newell at Worces- 
ter, or lodged with Judge Lincoln subject to the Col. "a 
draught : that two hundred pounds might be sent to Col. 
Badlam at Northampton ; and that the remainder may be 
forwarded here as soon as may be. 

M r Tyler has not yet returned. I have the pleasure to 
forward a copy of my instructions to him, and the papers 
which have arisen on the subject of his mission. They 
are numbered in the order they came into existence. 

People who have been in arms are hourly coining in. 
Their flight into the bosom of their country will I doubt 
not be in some proportion to the mild terms held out by 
government as the conditions on which they may expect 
its favours. 

I have the honour of being, with the highest esteem, 
Your Excellency's most obedient & hum bl servant. 

B. Lincoln. 

His Excellency Governor Bowdoin. 




Norwich, Febr* 20 th , 1787. 

Sir, — I am honoured with your Excellency's favour of 
the 7 th instant & a copy of your letter of the 2 d instant ; 
but the original hath not been recieved. 

I most sincerely congratulate your Excellency on the 
success of the wise & spirited measures that have been 
adopted to extinguish the insurrection in your Common- 

Your Excellency may be assured, should any of those 
insurgents attempt to screen themselves from justice by 
seeking an asylum in this State they will immediately be 
apprehended & delivered up, agreably to the Articles of 

Should the insurgents reassemble, nothing will be want- 
ing on my part to prevent in the most effectual manner 
their being supplied with provision, arms, or military 
stores in this State, or having any aid or support of any 
kind whatever ; & from the best information I can obtain 
of the sentiments of the good people of this State, I am 
satisfied they very generally detest the lawless & vio- 
lent courses which the insurgents have taken. 

With the greatest esteem and respect, I have the honor 
to be 

Your Excellency's obedient, humble serv*. 

Sam 1 * Huntington. 

His Excellency Governor Bowdoin. 


Northampton, Feb* 20 th , 1787. 

Sir, — I have been honored with your Excellency's 
dispatches by Major Varnum and M r Smith, and have also 

* For a notice of Samuel Huntington, Governor of Connecticut when this letter was 
-written, see 7 Maes. Hist. Coll., vol. ii. p. 231 note. — Eds. 

1787.] WILLIAM SHEPARD. 147 

just received your letter of the 30 th of January, and shall 
always be happy to pay particular attention to your com- 
munications and orders. 

Col Badlands regiment, which has been under my par- 
ticular direction, is to march hqmeward to-morrow by 
General Lincoln's orders, excepting those who reinlist, 
which I fear will be a small number, and they are ordered 
to join General Lincoln. I have received no orders from 
your Excellency or from him to take any measures what- 
ever for the security of this goal, or for the preservation 
of the public peace, when this post shall be evacuated, 
though in my opinion they will be indangered from the 
sanguinary and still unsubdued spirits of those who have 
secreted themselves and possibly of some who have taken 
the oath of allegiance to the government. More is to be 
apprehended from assassination and from secret plots than 
from open violence ; and, as I mentioned in my last let- 
ter which M r Fowler will have the honor to deliver, it 
appears to me unquestionably necessary that a respect- 
able force, perhaps five hundred, should be kept up in 
each of these three upper counties to overawe and sub- 
due the tempers of these miscreants. 

In an attempt to apprehend a Cap* Parmenter of Bar- 
nardston, who has been very busy in acting and spreading 
sedition & has exerted himself very much to annoy the 
government, a M r Walker of the town of Whately, a very 
likely man, was killed by this Parmenter. M r Whitney, a 
member of the House, & Cap* Lyman of Northfield by 
the misfiring of the muskets of the two men with Par- 
menter saved their lives. These fellows made their escape, 
but Parmenter, his two sons, and his son in law have since 
been taken, and are expected here immediately. Parmen- 
ter, when he met this sleigh, jumped out of his own, pre- 
sented his musket with charged bayonet and ordered the 
men to surrender as prisoners, and when Walker jumped 
out and presented his pistol, they both fired together. 


A party of four came down a few nights since to assas- 
sinate Cap* Chapin of Barnardston, but could not find him. 

I have apprehended Justus Wright, an outlaw, who is 
in irons at this place in goal ; for the particulars concern- 
ing this man, permit me to refer your Excellency to 
D r Hunt of this town, now at Boston as a member of the 

Many of our insurgents are skulking in the margin of 
Vermont & New Hampshire, and probably wait a favor- 
able conjunction of circumstances to renew their hostili- 
ties upon this government, and the moment an armed 
force ceases to appear in this county (for the guard of 
one hundred at Springfield can not influence people in 
the north of the county) they may rush down, plunder, 
and murder at their pleasure. 

M r Harvey of Montague, a member of the present 
General Court, is in goal here, w T ho has, I suppose, been 
extremely seditious. I wait your Excellency's orders for 
my direction about sending him and many others to 
Boston. Our goals are full, and possibly entire safety 
may induce this measure. 

Since writing the above, Parmenter, his son, and son in 
law, and those whose muskets misfired, have been com- 
mitted with a few others to this goal, and those who were 
concerned in the firing have confessed it. 

I am, Sir, with much respect, 

Your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant. 

W M Shepard. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r . 


Worcester, Feb^ y e 20 th , 1787. 
His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r . 

May it please your Excellency, — The spirit of 
faction which has so generally prevailed in divers parts 


of this county is now continually decreasing, & I believe 
but little is to be feared from the malcontents in future. 

When I wrote your Excellency on the 17 th ins*, which 
was forwarded by M r Rice, I supposed it necessary that 
a small detachment should be made from the melitia; 
but according to present appearances, I think a further 
draft will be unnessary, as I have prevailed with one or 
two companies which are now posted in this town to con- 
tinue after the term expires for which they are now 
engaged, for the purpose of guarding the public stores 
& prisoners in this place, untill new troops are raised 
and ordered here for the purpose ; which will be much 
less expence to goverment than a draft as aforesaid, 
which I hope & trust will meet with your Excellency's 

Relative to the particular situation of affairs in this 
county, I will refer to M r Lincoln, who is the bearer of 
this letter. 

I have the honour of being, with esteem, 
Your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant. 

Jon a Warner, M. G. 


Pittsfield, Feby 21 st , 1787. 

Sir, — I presume that the Governour of this State has 
fully detailed to your Excellency the rise and progress 
of the disaffection to government, and the measures con- 
sequently adopted by the Legislature to quiet and bring 
back the disaffected to their duty and allegiance, prior 
to an armed force being ordered into the field. As I am 
informed, he has likewise requested your Excellency's aid 
in apprehending such of the rebels as should flee from 
justice in expectation of finding an asylum in your State. 

* See a reference to this letter in General Lincoln's letter to Governor Bowdoin, post, 
p. 158. — Eds. 


Any observations of mine therefore on these heads will 
be unnecessary ; I need only observe in general that 
there are a number of the rebels who have fled from this 
and are now within the limits of your State. Near the 
borders they remain from day to day parading in arms, 
and are uttering their menaces against the government 
and good people of this Commonwealth. They are com- 
forted and say that they have the promise of support 
from your inhabitants. 

One of the leaders of the rebellion, viz., Adam Wheeler, 
was a few days since apprehended at White Creek, con- 
veyed a few miles, then rescued by about forty of your 
men and carried back in triumph. 

I receive frequent information that this intercourse pro- 
duces very bad effects upon the minds of your people. 
Many of them are nearly ripe to commit any outrage on 
the government of either of the two States as they shall 
be directed by artful men. This circumstance I could 
not conceal from your Excellency. 

It will add much to the peace and happiness of this 
State and to the establishing government in it if your 
Excellency would cause to be apprehended and sent 
over the line all such of our inhabitants as are now on 
your side of it for the express purpose of evading justice. 

I have the honour to be, with great respect, 

Your Excellency's very humble servant. 

[Not signed.'] 
His Excellency Governour Clinton.* 


With this day the time expires for which the troops 
now in the field engaged to serve. That the great 
objects for which they were embodied are so nearly 

* Indorsed, apparently by Governor Bowdoin's secretary: "No. 4— from Koyal 
Tyler."— Eds. 

1787.] WILLIAM SHEPARD. 151 

accomplished the General is persuaded must be pleasing 
to all. He congratulates the troops on the important 
event. That it has so speedily taken place may be justly 
ascribed under the Supreme Director of all events to the 
great exertions and military zeal exhibited on every occa- 
sion by the officers & soldiers of the line ; and by the 
system & unremitted attention in the staff departments, 
without which every operation must have been delayed. 
In justice to the army and as a gratification of his own 
feelings he will take the earliest opportunity to lay before 
the Governor the high sense he entertains of their im- 
portant services. 

The troops will immediately draw provisions for the 
23 d & 24 th . They will draw at Northampton 3 days pro- 
visions more, and at Worcester provisions to carry them 
to their respective homes.^ The Commissary will make 
the necessary provisions for these supplies. 

The troops will be marched thro' the country in regi- 
ments, & not suffered to act so unmilitary a part as to 
straggle on the road ; as this irregularity would operate 
much to their own injury, to the distress of the inhabi- 
tants, and to the dishonour of the army. Every person 
who continues with his regiment & subjects himself to 
the order of his officers will receive his pay untill he 
arrives at his own home. The General wishes the troops 
an agreeable march and a happy sight of their families 
and friends, and that hereafter they may be free from 
intestine broils and foreign invasions. 

Pittsfield, Feb. 21st, 1787. 

Morning Orders of the 22 d 


Northampton, Feb? 21st, 1787. 

Sir, — Gad Sacket of Westfield has desired liberty to 
surrender himself, if he may be admitted to bail. He 


was appointed one of the committee to organize the mi- 
litia under Shays, but never knew of his appointment 
till after he joined him in the course of hostilities. As 
Noble and Killam of that town, who acted as his lieuten- 
ants, and have in my opinion discovered more malevolent 
dispositions and more active conduct than this man, you 
will allow me to intercede that he might be encouraged 
to surrender himself on that condition, as he has a charge- 
able family, which is supported by his industry, and the 
town will be burthened with their support if he should 
be committed. We have some privates in Westfield, 
who are more criminal than Sacket, particularly Ezra 
Clap and Richard Nimocks, who ought I think to be 

Cap* Buffington has returned since my letter of yester- 
day to this town. He has been in Vermont with about 
twenty horsemen to apprehend certain characters who we 
knew were at Brattleborough, and though they received 
official support from the magistrate, and were within half 
an hour of them, yet the desired event was entirely dis- 
concerted by the rabble of the town, who were altogether 
in the interest of those culprits, gave them intelligence, 
detained them by artifice, and even by an armed force 
of nearly seventy, insulted them extremely, and would 
even have made them prisoners, if they had had cour- 
age. The horsemen left the town, since their object was 
lost, that disagreeable consequences might be avoided. 
On their return they were extremely industrious and 
serviceable in the capture of Parmenter, his associates, 
and a few others in the same quarter. 

I can not omit once more to testify to your Excellency 
the high sense which I must entertain of the important 
services of Cap* Buffington and the gentlemen who have 
rode with him, in their patience, industry, courage, and 
prudent conduct in severe fatigue. I think it of great 
consequence to the interest of the service to keep up this 


body of horsemen, and could wish for your interposi- 
tion that their services may neither be unnoticed nor 

I would suggest to your Excellency that making an 
immediate example of Parmenter, and of those who mis- 
fired, might have a happy effect on the minds of the 

Last evening Col Chapin gave me an authenticated 
return of two field officers, who were legally chosen to 
serve in his, the 2 d Regiment, Major William Lyman as 
Lieu* Colonel, and Cap fc Solomon Allen as Major, both of 
whom belong to this town. I have appointed M r Samuel 
Mather, J r , as an aid de camp in the room of Major 
Lyman, and he also now belongs to this place. Your 
Excellency will be pleased to forward their commissions 
immediately, as Lieu* Col Lyman is appointed in the four 
months service. 

Last night I had orders from General Lincoln to raise 
a regiment under Col° Badlam ; as many as possible 
from his present regiment and the remainder from this 

I enclose to your Excellency a narrative of Cap* Buf- 
fington's expedition] which he just now gave me. 

I have the honour to be, with great respect, 

Your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant. 

W M Shepard. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin, Esq r . 


Being sent by order of General Shepard with a troop 
of horse for apprehending culprits who had fled to Ver- 
mont, I went from Northfield last Friday evening, the 
16 th ins 1 , to Brattleborough to reconnoitre, the troop 
being left at Northfield. A number of persons were 


found to be in and about that town. Word was sent 
back & the troop ordered on that night to Brattlebor- 
ough. Finding the rabble of that town had appointed 
a committee for the purpose of protecting the persons 
we were in pursuit of, I found it necessary to make the 
search. That night officers & a warrant were procured, 
but I could not apprehend them by reason of the pro- 
tection of the rabble. I then went with part of the 
troop to New Marlborough, 10 miles distant, without 
the appearance of arms or accoutrements which were 
carried secretly in a chest in a sleigh that went on for 
that purpose. Suspecting a number of principal char- 
acters were within two miles from where we halted, it 
was necessary to reconnoitre the ground for the purpose 
of adopting a plan to secure them, but failed from not be- 
ing authorised to stop any persons who were inhabitants 
of that State. The characters w T e were in pursuit of, 
Luke & Elijah Day with others, obtained information by 
one of the party beforementioned & effected their escape 
about 15 minutes before we arrived ; the particular cir- 
cumstances of their escape at that time being unknown, 
or we should have pursued them. Soon after a messenger 
arrived from the rabble at Brattleborough, demanding 
from what authority we came there. His own authority 
was immediately demanded, and when known the princi- 
pal characters of the rabble were taken from him & com- 
mitted to writing, after which he was informed that no 
account would be given him, as he came not from an 
authoritative body. In our return we fell in with a party 
of 60 or 70, who made the same demands. They were 
enquired of if a magistrate was present or any other au- 
thoritative body. Finding this was not the case, we only 
observed that our business was to apprehend criminals, 
and if they were found in that body of people they 
would instantly be apprehended, be the consequence 
what it would. To which they answered, no person 


should be carried from that State, as we were in pur- 
suit of the most virtuous of our citizens. The reply 
was, that should they be found here an attack would 
instantly be made unless they surrendered, and that I 
should not consider myself answerable for the conse- 
quences that might follow from opposition. They called 
for arms immediately. A number appeared in arms, 
others had recourse to the woodpile for missile weap- 
ons. The same evening a party collected for the pur- 
pose of attacking us ; but we were so far on our return 
that they did not come up with us. The same evening a 
party was detached for apprehending a Cap* Parmenter, of 
Shays party, who had a small party with him, which de- 
tachment unexpectedly met said Parmenter fleeing in a 
sleigh to Vermont. M r Aaron Whitney of Northfield 
went as a guide forward in a sleigh. The sleighs ran 
upon each other undiscovered. Parmenter hailed them, 
receiving no answer immediately sprang from the sleigh 
and ordered his men to 1 fire. M r Whitney replyed, Do 
not fire. Immediately two guns were presented within 
a few feet of his breast, which in snapping misfired, 
at which M r Jacob Walker, one of the troop, had got in 
the rear of Parmenter's sleigh. On which Parmenter 
shot him through the body, of which he died within half 
an hour. The snow being deep and in a thicket of 
wood, the horsemen could not pursue, therefore the 
whole party made their escape. A number of the 
horsemen were dismounted, and put on snow shoes and 
went in pursuit the next forenoon, and hearing they 
had fled to Vermont, I sent a body of infantry from 
the militia to the line of this State, and the horse and the 
snow shoe men went into Vermont and fortunately the 
whole party was taken. 

Samuel Buffington. 

Northampton, Feb 21st. 1787. 



Green Mountains, Feb^ 21, 1787. 

Sir, — I wrote to you the last evening by Mr Jones, 
recommended him to a private audience, & acknowledged 
the honour of the rec 1 of your letter of 19 th . 

I communicated matters so fully by him that I have 
nothing new to offer which can be safely trusted on 
paper. The gentleman who will have the honour of 
delivering you this is M r Paine, formerly of our State & 
butler to the University at Cambridge ; now a citizen 
deservedly & highly respected in this governni* ; you will 
oblige me & probably advance the interest of my mission 
by shewing him civility'; he is not however, tho' highly 
deserving, any wise initiated in my plans. 

I can accomplish the great object of my instructions, 
I think, even now, but I intend it shall be effected with- 
out making a rupture with this people. The state of 
this country is such that I must depend upon the troops 
upon the frontiers as a cover at least. 

Sir, I am, with the highest respect, 

R. Tyler. 


Pittsfield, Feb? 22 d , 1787. 

Dear Sir, — I was informed last night by a line from 
M r Sedgwick, that there was in the town of Lee one 
Esquire Perry of the town of Easton, in the county of 
Bristol, who was endeavouring to blow up the spark of 
rebellion ; besides this information he is generally sup- 
posed to be a very dangerous man. I have therefore 
sent for him, & now have him confined. I wish your 
Excellency's directions what shall be done with him ; I 
think he should be confined by a State warrant. 


There are a number of officers & privates, inhabitants 
of this county, who are now hovering about the borders 
of it, wishing many of them to return. I have thought 
them a dangerous body to the inhabitants which lye 
contiguous to the places where they are. It being out of 
the State ; & they being mixed among the inhabitants 
of the neighbouring States, I do not think myself author- 
ized to approach them ; should we attempt it & an action 
ensue, & the innocent inhabitants should suffer, I do not 
see how I could be justified; some of the officers are 
come in & others wish to ; they are willing to give heavy 
bonds for their appearance, &c. I think we had better 
admit on these terms characters the least influential; if 
the officers are brought off the men will come in also : 
what I have done in this matter has been by the advice 
of the best citizens ; I wish your Excellency's directions 
on this subject also. There are also some men named in 
the State warrants who are among the number & have 
acted as officers, not of the first rank, who, I am informed, 
wish to come in on the same conditions. From the 
information I now have of their characters, I think they 
may be admitted with the greatest safety ; indeed I am 
convinced it will promote the general good to do it. I 
am fully in opinion that we might now liberate, under 
bonds, all who have been apprehended on State warrants 
in this county ; those characters who have been com- 
mitted are not the most dangerous, unless D r Whiting 
should be considered so & even he at this stage of the 
Kebellion would rather, I think, study how he could 
recommend himself to government & to his fellow citizens 
by a very different line of conduct from the one he has 
pursued than think of fanning the coals of sedition. The 
Sheriff will not apprehend any others, unless he should 
meet some who are the most aggravatedly guilty, untill 
I shall hear from your Excellency on this subject, for our 
goals are now full. 


Adam Wheeler was a few days since apprehended at 
White Creek, in the bounds of N. York & brought off two 
or three miles, but was after rescued & carried back in 
triumph by a number of Yorkers; this information, with 
other, I have communicated to the Governor of New- 
York ; a copy of my letter to him is enclosed. I hope 
he will exert himself to apprehend certain of our char- 
acters & send them across the line. I am confident 
that the safety of that government depends upon his 
exertions at this hour as much as the safety of ours de- 
pends upon the continued exertions of this State ; the 
disaffection to order & government is fast spreading in 
the neighbouring States; the reins of government must 
be drawn up or they will be trodden under foot pretty 
generally in this part of the world. 

The time for which our men engaged to serve expires 
with this day ; those who have not been discharged have 
patiently continued in the field to the latest moment. 
The troops which have been called from the different 
counties on this occasion have thro' the whole of their 
services discovered that obedience & military ardour 
which would have done honour to much older troops ; 
by these circumstances & the patriotism discovered in 
their flying to arms on the very first invitation for 
the defence of government, they have merited much 
& are entitled to the highest applause. Would it not, 
Sir, have a good effect, would it not be political, to 
give them some public testimony of the approbation of 

I have the honor to be, dear Sir, with the greatest 

Your Excellency's obed* hum. servant. 

B. Lincoln. 

Governor Bowdoin. 



Gentlemen of the Senate & Gentlemen of 
the House of Representatives : 

It was expected by the General Court that their pro- 
ceedings at their last session, respecting the insurgents, 
would have answered the purpose for which they were 
intended. By those proceedings there was held forth 
to them punishment on the one hand, and pardon on the 
other. Punishment, in case of perseverence in their 
criminal conduct. Pardon and indemnity, if they de- 
sisted from it, and by a given time should take the oaths 
of allegiance. This application to their feelings, and to 
that actuating principle, a desire of personal safety, it 
was apprehended would have had a forcible influence to 
bring them to their duty. But unhappily, it did not 
produce any good effect, except upon a very few indi- 
viduals of them. On the contrary, the lenity and for- 
bearance of government were treated with contempt, 
and imputed by them to an inability to defending itself; 
and some of your last Acts have been added to their list 
of grievances. 

But the clearest and most unequivocal evidence of 
their perseverance in opposition to government is de- 
duced from their proceedings respecting the judicial 
courts in several of the counties since the last session 
of the General Court. They twice with an armed force 
stopped those courts in Worcester ; and would not suffer 
them to open in Hampshire. They attempted it, though 
unsuccessfully, in Middlesex ; and in consequence of that 
attempt several of them were taken into custody by 
virtue of State warrants ; in the execution of which, the 
Sheriff and other persons to whom the warrants were 
directed had the aid and support of a number of spirited 
gentlemen of that county & Suffolk. At the last time 

* Printed from a draught in the handwriting of a clerk, with interlineations and other 
changes by Governor Bowdoin. — Eds. 


of their assembling in Worcester, there were nearly a 
thousand of them in arms, who to the great annoyance 
& terror of that vicinity continued embodied for several 
days after the court had adjourned ; meditating, as it was 
apprehended, further outrages, which were providentially 
prevented by the continued storms of that week. 

These violent and treasonable proceedings of the in- 
surgents were perpetrated after the publication of the 
last acts of the General Court respecting them ; and 
demonstrated, not only a total disregard of those acts, 
and the authority by which they were enacted, but a 
contempt of all constitutional government and a fixed 
determination to persevere in measures for subverting it. 

This determination and these measures were also man- 
ifest by their printed declarations, and by some of the 
private transactions of their leaders when the main body 
of the insurgents were last assembled at Worcester ; by 
which it appeared, the insurgents were formed into 
regiments and that a committee was appointed for each 
regiment to see that it should without delay be properly 
officered & equipped and compleatly ready whenever called 
upon. That this was the state of things in the western 
counties, was further confirmed by letters I received 
from some of the most respectable characters in those 
counties, and by the oral testimony of many intelligent 
persons from thence, who all agreed in the necessity of 
speedy & vigorous measures being taken for the effectual 
suppression of the insurgents, without which the well- 
affected might from a principle of self-preservation be 
obliged to join them, and the insurrection become general. 

The safety & well being of the Commonwealth being 
thus in hazard, and the lenient, conciliating measures 
of the General Court having been rejected by the insur- 
gents, I conceived myself under every obligation of 
honor and duty to exert the powers vested in me by law 
& the Constitution for the protection & defence of the 


Commonwealth against the hostile & nefarious attempts 
of those lawless men. 

Pursuant to this idea, I laid before the Council all the 
information & intelligence I had collected relative to the 
proceedings and designs of those men ; and the Council 
were unanimously of opinion ana accordingly advised 
that vigorous & effectual measures should be taken to 
protect the Judicial Courts, particularly those that were 
then to be next holden at Worcester; to aid the civil 
magistrate in executing the laws ; to repell all insurgents 
against the government; and to apprehend all disturbers 
of the public peace : particularly such of them as might 
be named in any State w r arrant or warrants. 

For these purposes, upon the effecting of which all 
good government and indeed the happy existence of the 
Commonwealth do essentially depend, I have called forth 
from several counties a respectable body of the militia, 
the command of which I have given to Major General 
Lincoln, with orders to carry those purposes into effectual 

Those orders are now in operation and will be laid 
before you, with the general orders, containing the plan 
of measures by which the Commonwealth was to be 
defended against its present assailants. 

I congratulate you, Gentlemen, on the success of those 
measures hitherto, and hope it is a prelude to final 
success, and to the re-establishment of perfect tran- 
quillity. The despatches concerning it which I have 
received from General Lincoln and Gen 1 Shepard will be 
laid before you. 

Thus, Gentlemen, from a principle of duty to the Com- 
monwealth, and in conformity to your resolution of the 
24 th of October, in which you express a full confidence, 
" that I will still persevere in the exercise of such powers 
as are vested in me by the Constitution for preventing 

any attempts to interrupt the administration of law and 



justice, and, for enforcing due obedience to the authority 
and laws of government/' I have taken the measures 
above represented. I trust they will meet with your en- 
tire approbation, and with that support which is naturally 
to be expected from the guardians of the public safety. 

On my part, I have done in this business what the 
duty of my office and the oath of qualification indispen- 
sibly require : and I have the fullest confidence that on 
your part nothing will be wanting to carry into complete 
effect the measures that have been taken or that may 
be further necessary to suppress the present insurrection, 
and to ensure a strict obedience to the laws. This is so 
essential to the peace and safety of the Commonwealth 
that it requires your immediate attention ; and the speedy 
application of further means, if those already taken should 
be deemed insufficient for that purpose. 

Among those means you may deem it necessary to 
establish some criterion for discriminating between good 
citizens and insurgents, that each might be regarded 
according to their characters : the former as their coun- 
try's friends and to be protected ; and the latter as public 
enemies and to be effectually suppressed. At such a time 
as the present every man ought to show his colours and 
take his side : no neutral characters should be allowed, nor 
any one suffered to vibrate between the two. 

Vigour, decision, energy will soon terminate this un- 
natural, this unprovoked insurrection, and prevent the 
effusion of blood: but the contrary may involve the 
Commonwealth in a civil war, and all its dreadful con- 
sequences, which may extend not only to the neighbour- 
ing States, but even to the whole Confederacy, and finally 
destroy the fair temple of American liberty, in the 
erecting of which, besides the vast expence of it, many 
thousands of valuable citizens have been sacrificed. 

There are several things resulting from the measures 
in operation which require your immediate attention. 


The money immediately wanted for carrying them 
into execution was supplied by a voluntary loan from 
a number of gentlemen, and in a manner which does 
them much honour. ' I must earnestly recommend to 
you to provide for its reimbursement, which upon the 
principles of policy as well as justice should be made as 
speedily as possible. Provision also should be made for 
defreying the general expence. 

Should the time be too short to effect the great pur- 
poses for which the militia were called forth, it may be 
necessary that General Lincoln should be empowered to 
continue them in service by enlistment until those pur- 
poses shall be accomplished. The men being already 
embodied and the arrangements for supporting them per- 
fected, the expence of such a continuance will be much less 
than that of raising a new body for the same service. 

There are defects in our militia act which require an 
immediate remedy ; and which I shall mention to you in 
a seperate message. 

These, Gentlemen, are matters of importance, but the 
general subject of this address is of the first magnitude, 
and demands your immediate & most serious attention. 
If it be taken up with proper spirit, if the measures in 
operation be seconded with firmness and decision, and 
if the powers of the several branches of government be 
united in a wise & vigorous exertion, we may reasonably 
expect a speedy & happy issue to the present insurrec- 
tion ; to which happy issue every exertion on my part 
has been and shall be applied. 

But on the contrary, if indecision, languor or disunion 
should on this occasion pervade our public councils, insur- 
rection, though checked for the present, would gain new 
strength, and like a torrent might sweep away every 
mound of the Constitution, and overwhelm the Common- 
wealth in every species of calamity. In such a case, if 
brought on by remissness or relaxation on our part, we 


should be not onlv involved, most essentiallv involved, 
in that calamity, but justly chargeable with betraying the 
trust reposed in us by our fellow-citizens, and chargeable 
with ignominiously deserting the posts assigned us as 
guardians of the peace, the safety, and happiness of the 

But \ery happily this is only a possible case : for your 
patriotism, your virtue, your regard for your own lib- 
erties and property and for those of your families & 
posterity, must induce you to call forth every power of 
government into vigorous exertion for preventing such 
a complication, such an accumulation of evils. 

On this occasion it is proper, Gentlemen, to inform you 
that I have received from several towns petitions directed 
to the Governor & Council, and also to the General Court, 
relative to the insurgents. The petitions, being eight in 
number, do disapprove of the proceedings of government 
in regard to those people. 

But as the things prayed for were, for the most part, 
not cognizable by the Governor & Council, and such as 
were so, could not be granted by them consistently with 
the duty they owe to the Commonwealth, the petitions 
will be laid before you for your consideration. 

There are other matters to which your attention, Gen- 
tlemen, is necessary ; and they will be communicated by 

., , ' no „ James Bowdoin. 

Council Chamber, Feby, 1787. 


Philadelphia, 5 March, 1787. 

Your Excellency, — I very sincerely congratulate 
you on the successful issue of your endeavours to quell 
the rebellion lately existing in your State. The prudence 

* For a notice of the writer of this letter, see 2 Proceedings, vol. xvii. p. 354 note. — Eds. 

1787.] SAMUEL VAUGHAN, JR. 165 

& foresight you manifested at its rise & during the course 
of it I hope will ensure a proper confidence on the part 
of the Legislature to delegate such a power as may be 
necessary to preserve so beautiful a fabric as the one 
lately erected by the late revolution from the rude shocks 
of an unprincipled, deluded set of people. The attack 
will not I hope be repeated, & if it is the sole one I think 
the revolution in favor of liberty & reason to be cheaply 
purchased. With an education received under a cor- 
rupted government licentiousness may be easily mistaken 
for liberty. For a just idea of the latter to be the preva- 
lent & universal sentiment we must wait patiently the 
time of the rising generation which will be born & brought 
up under its influence. We see even the first among us, 
& colleted Legislatures, often deviating from the doc- 
trines of liberty & personal right, why then be surprised 
at the less instructed being mistaken in their opinions & 
practice were it without the interference of designing 
men. The political maxims of these States differ from 
those of any State hitherto established & the best educated 
& most experienced individuals are but novists with 
respect to their true policy. This consideration has 
induced a number of the most distinguished characters 
here to form themselves into a Society for Political En- 
quiries with a view of extending their own knowledge on 
subjects of political ceconomy This Society may give 
rise to others & tend much to the acquisition & dissemi- 
nation of proper sentiments respecting both the conduct 
of individuals to a State & of the latter to individuals. 
As the formation of a similar Society may be worthy 
your attention to the northward, as soon as the preamble 
& laws are printed I shall do myself the pleasure of 
presenting them to your Excellency. 

When I was last at Boston I promised your Excellency 
the description of an electrical machine of superior force 
made at Harlem with an acco* of its effects. Circumstances 


then prevented me & I have the pleasure at present to 
enclose it. I also promised to forward an acco* of the 
New Science M r Adams, Jun r , related to you had been dis- 
covered in France relative to the distinguishing. of vessels 
at prodigious distances. I did not send it as it has since 
appeared to be only a satire on the credulity of the age, 
but if it interests your Excellency you will find it in the 
Collumbian Magazine for Jan y last, page 221. 

In the Philosophical Society nothing has lately been 
read of consequence, excepting some observations & con- 
jecture of M r Rittenhouse on the formation of clouds. He 
supposes mountains to be the cause of them. A few days 
since D r Smith, the Vice President of Prince Town Col- 
lege, read an oration before the Society & the public. 
The subject was to prove philosophically the testimony of 
Scripture of the human race being derived from a single 
couple. It is elegant, ingenious, & the subject treated 
very extensively. The Society will publish it, when I 
shall forward a copy. The Philos 1 Society are about 
to prepare another volume for the press. The Boston 
Society it is hoped will not be behind hand. At the 
nomination of my father you have been elected a member 
of the Society here. I suppose you have been informed 
of it by the Secretaries. 

My father begs your acceptance of his comp 8 & that you 
will present them to M rs Bowdoin & M r & M rs Wintrop. 
I request mine to be joined to his. 

With perfect respect, I have the honor to remain 
Your Excellency's most obedient & humble serv* 

Samuel Vaughan, Jun b » 

P. S. If an opportunity should offer for this place I 
shall be much indebted to your Excellency to send me a 
copy of the list of disorders or table that your Society 
sent to the different towns to determine the disorders of 
Massachusetts & draw Tables of Mortality. 

His Excellency Gov r Bowdoin. 

1787.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 167 


The Hon. Rufus King & Nathan Dane, Esq rs , 

Delegates in Congress. 

Boston, March 6, 1787. 

Gentlemen, — The sole reason why the rebellion is 
.not entirely crushed is the protection & countenance 
which the rebels find in those parts of the State of 
New York & Territory of Vermont contiguous to the 
northwestern corner of our State, from whence they 
make predatory incursions into the latter. Our troops 
chase them to the line ; but Gen 1 Lincoln has been 
delicately cautious as to passing it. 

Major Tyler, the bearer of this, is charged with instruc- 
tions to request the aid of New York in effecting the 
apprehension or expulsion of those rebels who have 
taken refuge in that State. Although we have the 
firmest reliance upon the good disposition of the Legis- 
lature of New York and the decided activity of their 
Governour, yet to guard against all possible accidents, 
should New York be disinclined or unable to render us 
effectual aid, it may be proper for this State to make 
application for federal assistance, which would be totally 
unnecessary if our troops had the same right of acting 
in other States as in our own. 

Major Tyler is directed to confer with you upon this 
subject, and you will determine what is most eligible to 
be done when he has informed you of all circumstances. 

He has farther instructions respecting the conduct of 
Vermont. You will please to give such credit to his 
propositions as are due to a person who has the con- 
fidence of this government. M r Tyler has a letter from 
me for Governour Clinton upon the same subject. After 
you have read it, he will seal and deliver it to him. I 
have the honour to be with y e most perfect esteem, 
Gent n , 

Yr. most ob* hble. serv. 



Boston, March 6 th , 1787. 

Sir, — By a resolution of the Legislature of this Com- 
monwealth, of which a copy is enclosed, it is my duty again 
to address your Excellency on a subject of great impor- 
tance, not only to this State, but to the State of New York 
and indeed to all the States in the Union. It is to re- 
quest, and accordingly with great earnestness I request, 
your Excellency that the most speedy and effectual meas- 
ures may be taken under the authority of your Excel- 
lency for the apprehending and securing the fugitive 
rebels of this State who have fled and taken refuge 
within the limits of New York, and for transmitting 
them to the authority of this State, conformably to the 
Confederation. It is an undoubted fact that a great 
number of the people of your county of Washington, 
adjoining to our county of Berkshire, are possessed of 
the same spirit of rebellion which is so prevalent in Berk- 
shire ; that they have joined and given aid to our rebels 
& with them have made predatory irruptions into Berk- 
shire, and then retreating have secured themselves within 
the line of New York, wither our troops did not think 
themselves authorized to follow them without permission 
from your Excellency. This being the case & in conse- 
quence of it the rebellion likely to spread into your State 
and all the States, your Excellency will permit me to 
suggest whether it will not be necessary that a body of 
the well affected militia of New York should without 
delay proceed into Washington county and co-operate 
with ours for the effectual suppression of the rebellion, 
or that your Excellency should commission our militia to 
enter into your State for that purpose. 

For such a commission your Excellency will observe by 
the resolve aforesaid I am requested to apply to you, 
which accordingly it is incumbent upon me to do, and 

1787.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 169 

which I also do from a full persuasion of the necessity 
of it. Major Tyler, who is charged with this letter, has 
acted as an aid de camp to General Lincoln; can give 
you a full account of the disposition of the people and 
the state of things in those counties ; and can be con- 
fided in to execute any of your commands. To him I 
beg leave to refer you for further information ; and am, 
with great respect, Sir, 

Your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant. 
His Excellency Geoege Clinton, Esq r . 


Boston, March 11, 1787. 
The Hon. Rufus King, Nathan Dane, Esq es , 
Delegates in Congress. 

Gent n , — I have received the favour of y r letter of the 
fourth instant, with the resolve of the Legislature of New 
York, requesting Gov r Clinton to call out a body of their 
militia to co-operate with ours in suppressing the insur- 
gents. This spirited measure does honour to New York 
& to Gov r Clinton in particular, who with so much alacrity 
and expedition had proceeded to carry it into execution. 
It is hoped it will effectually quell the insurrections spirit 
that was very fast spreading in the northern parts of that 
State, to which many of our insurgents had retreated. 
A number of them went into New Hampshire, but Gen- 
eral Sullivan's proclamation, and other judicious measures 
of his, have occasioned most of them to retire into Ver- 
mont, which is now their principal asylum. I have 
repeatedly written to Gov r Chittenden on that subject; 
but have not yet received any answer. If they cannot 
be dislodged from thence, their incursions may keep the 
western counties in perpetual alarm ; and such a nest of 
them may be really hazardous to the Union. 


Upon this idea is founded the enclosed Resolve of the 
General Court of y e 8 th instant, requesting Congress to 
give a commission to Gen 1 Lincoln with power & authority 
to march the forces under his command into any territory 
within the United States for the sole purpose of appre- 
hending the leaders and others concerned in the insur- 
rection & rebellion, and bringing them to justice. You 
will please to apply to that honourable body in the name 
of this government for such a commission accordingly. 

Enclosed also is a Resolve of y e General Court of the 
7 th of March instant, respecting the fund out of which the 
federal troops ordered by Congress to be raised within 
this State shall be cloathed and subsisted ; and request- 
ing that y e s d troops, w th those raised in New York & y e 
States eastward of it, may be ordered to afford their aid 
in pursuing & apprehending the rebels in any place within 
y e United States. You will please to attend to this resolve 
also, and endeavour to obtain from Congress a compliance 
with the requests of the General Court contained in it. 

I have the honour to be, with the most perfect regard, 

Gent n , 

Yr. m° obed* hble. serv. 


Boston, March 14 th , 1787. 
The Hon. Ruftjs King, Nathan Dane, Esq rs . 

Gent n , — By the last post I enclosed to you several 
Resolves of the General Court & requested your attention 
to them ; and now enclose another of the 9 th instant, by 
which you are instructed to move in Congress that y e 
widows & orphans of such officers as fell in y e public 
service prior to the year 1777 may have y e benefits of 
y e Resolve of Congress of y e 8 th of May, 1778. You will 
accordingly please to apply to Congress for that purpose. 

I am very respectfully, Gent n , y r most obed* hble. serv 1 . 

1787.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 171 


Boston, March 15, 1787. 
His Exc y George Clinton, Esq r , 

Gov r of y e State of New York. 

Sir,— J am honoured by your Excy's letter of the 
24 th ultimo, which came to hand the 7 th instant, accom- 
panied with the Resolutions of the Legislature of the 
State of New York for communicating to the Six Nations 
the mutual cession of lands between this State and that. 

I immediately by a message transmitted the letter & 
resolutions to the Legislature of this State. But the 
pressure of other business, and their prior determination 
to close the session within that week, occasioned them to 
refer the proposal of an interview with those Indians to 
the consideration of the next General Court, w ch will 
meet in the last week of May. 

Had the Court thought proper at this time to have 
agreed to y e proposal, and to request my attendance 
upon the business, I should readily have undertaken it; 
and the more so as in the transacting of it I should have 
had y e pleasure and advantage of being connected with 
your Excellency. 

I am much obliged for your congratulations upon the 
success of our army in y e suppression of the rebellion ; 
and they afford me the greater satisfaction as that success 
has probably secured New York, and perhaps the United 
States in general, from the dangerous consequences of 
a more extensive rebellion. Your Excy's proclamation 
issued in consequence of mine for apprehending some 
of the principal rebels, the vigorous resolutions of the 
Legislature of New York for preventing the spread of the 
rebellion, and your very expeditious & spirited move- 
ments for the same purpose, of which our delegates in 
Congress and General Lincoln have given me informa- 
tion, claim the thanks of this Commonwealth, which you 
will have the goodness to accept, with assurances that in 


like circumstances or in any extraordinary emergency, 
the State of New York may depend upon a like generous 
co-operation with her on the part of this Commonwealth. 
I have the honour to be, with real esteem, 

Sir, yr. Excy's most obed* hble. serv\ 


Boston, March 15, 1787. 
The Hon ble Rufus King, Nathan Dane Esq rs . 

Gent n , — I have received your favour of y e 7 th instant 
with the Act of the Legislature of New York for lengthen- 
ing the time for compleating the running of the jurisdic- 
tion line between this State and that. I hope agreeably 
to my last, w ch enclosed our Act for the same purpose, 
you will be able to put this business in a train of speedy 

Enclosed is a Resolve of the General Court, passed the 
26 th of February, by which you will observe that as the 
Commonwealth has been and is in a state of war, they 
thought it impracticable to order an assessment of the 
two last requisitions of Congress ; and therefore that 
they had referred them to the next General Court. If 
you think it needful you will please to inform Congress 
of that resolve. 

Enclosed also is a letter for Governour Clinton, which 
after perusal please to seal and send to him. 

With great respect, I have the honour to be, Gent n , 
Yr. most ob* hble. serv\ 

James Bowdoin. 

P. S. Since writing y e above I have read y e New 
York Act respecting y e jurisdiction line, and find by it 
that two additional Commissioners are to be appointed 
by Congress ; that their two former acts for settling that 
line are repealed, &c, w ch will make it needful for us to 

1787.] NOAH WEBSTER. 173 

have a supplementary Act, or, like theirs, a new Act 
repealing the former. In either case, as the Gen 1 C fc is 
prorogued y e business must be postponed. It may be eli- 
gible therefore if y e Legislature of New York be in session 
that they should empower the present Commissioners, 
agreeably to our last Act & their own former Acts, to 
compleat the s d line. In this case Gov r Clinton & you 
without further procrastination can write to the Commis- 
sioners at Philadelphia to agree upon a time for com- 
pleating that business. 


Sir, — I rely on your Excellency's goodness to pardon 
my presumption in offering you my sentiments on public 
affairs. When the State which is honored with your 
administration is alarmed with a civil war; when our 
domestic debt is on the brink of annihilation ; and the 
whole federal body crumbling to pieces ; the well-designed 
efforts of any individual to preserve peace & save our 
credit & union will at least be excused by a gentleman 
of your Excellency's candor. 

I have long been of opinion that it would be wrong to 
fund our domestic debt in its present state ; & would the 
insurgents complain of this grievance only — the payment of 
interest in specie on the certificates — and not proceed to arms, 
I should be pleased with their opposition. 

It appears to me, Sir, that the zeal which influential 
men discover in funding the debt to preserve the public 
faith is extremely ill-directed, & would if effectual ruin the 
public & their faith together. To pay the debt to the 
men who now hold the evidences of it appears to me 
the most iniquitous measure that a legislature can adopt 
— a violation of their own engagements as well as of the 
compact by which society exists. I have heard, Sir, all 


the arguments that have been and probably all that can 
be brought by the advocates of the funding system & 
they all appear to me founded in fallacy. 

We are told, Sir, that the public has recieved the full 
value of the debt in money, supplies, or services, & ought 
to pay the whole. This is granted. 

We are told that if men parted with their certificates 
at a discount, it was their own act & they have no right 
to complain. This is not granted. 

We are told that if the public owe the money it is 
immaterial to whom they pay it. This is not true. 

We are told that if A gives B a bond for £100, & B, 
rather than wait for his money, assigns the bond to 
for £50, A cannot refuse to pay C the full nominal value 
because he purchased it for the one half. This is con- 
ceded, but the principle will not apply to the case of the 
public debt. 

In the first place, it is' denied that the public creditors 
parted with their certificates thro' choice ; at least the 
discount was not a matter of choice. They wanted this 
money, they could not obtain it, they could not wait, & 
a part of it was better at the time than the whole would 
be ten or fifteen years afterwards. Still they wanted 
all their dues; and nothing but necessity induced them 
to sacrifice a greater distant good to a small good 
at hand. The public promised them their demands & 
has not paid them, — the money is still due to them & 
public faith forbids that it should be paid to others. The 
public ought not, Sir, to suffer her own fault to deprive 
the citizen of |ths of his due & then in a rage for pre- 
serving faith pay the money to men who have no demand 
for the nominal sum, but what is grounded on that de- 
linquency of the State. 

In the second place, it is not immaterial to whom the 
debt is paid ; for the debt is in certificates & by selling 
them for less than their nominal value the holder loses 

1787.] NOAH WEBSTER. 175 

the property which is to pay the debt. Let the original 
creditor have the full value and he can discharge his 
part of the debt without distressing himself. But in 
compelling the original creditor to pay the public debt, 
there is an injustice, a wickedness peculiar to the pres- 
ent case ; for he loses the money first & then is taxed 
to pay the full sum to the purchaser. A man who sells 
a note for a fifth of its value & then is taxed to pay the 
full sum instead of gaining his money once absolutely 
loses it twice. This is literally true in America, & it is 
an intolerable evil. 

The case of A giving a bond to B is totally inappli- 
cable in every particular. It is not a parrallel case, for 
if A has had the value of the bond, it is immaterial 
to whom he pays the money, for he pays it but once; 
whereas the public creditors lose the money first & then 
are taxed to pay it. If B after losing £50 could 
be taxed to pay that sum to C, the case would be in 
point ; but this is not supposed. Besides, when an in- 
dividual takes a bond it is generally optional with him 
whether to take the bond & wait for his money, or to 
commence a suit immediately & take the person or 
estate of the debtor. It is not so with the public 
creditors. They must take certificates or nothing, they 
must wait the public pleasure ; there is no court to 
compel the public to do justice. 

But were the case stated perfectly parrallel, it would 
not apply ; for to draw general conclusions from particu- 
lar premises is always bad logic, & in politics is often 
dangerous. It is true that if a creditor loses money 
by the delinquency of an individual, the law will not 
make provision for him. It would be wrong for the 
legislature to make special provision for every man 
who should sell his neighbor's note at a discount. It 
would introduce endless confusion & every species of 


I acknowledge then, Sir, that in the case stated, B, 
the first creditor, who sells his bond at a discount has 
no remedy & ought to have none. But I humbly 
concieve that with respect to the creditors of the public 
the case is entirely different. In the former case public 
good requires that no special provision should be made 
for an individual ; in the latter case, the same public 
good requires a special provision for the public creditors. 
A principle which may be entirely just in a particular 
case may be totally wrong when extended to the public. 
This, I concieve, Sir, to be one of the most important 
truths in legislation ; & by not attending to it the 
legislatures of several States are deliberately plunging 
themselves & their constituents into confusion & wretch- 
edness. I wish to be understood ; that a just principle 
strictly pursued to a certain degree may become false & 
pernicious. Where the right ends & the wrong begins it 
may be difficult to determine ; but the extremes are as 
obvious as night & day. 

We can prove by mathematical demonstration that A, 
who can run twice as fast as B, shall never overtake B, 
who starts twenty yards before him ; for while A runs 
ten yards B runs five, while A runs five yards B runs 
two & an half, & so on, till A runs a foot & B half a foot. 
Thus by dividing the distance ad infinitum as mathemati- 
cians do when they demonstrate the infinite divisibility 
of matter, we can prove that A will never overtake B. 
But two children of different powers would by an experi- 
ment overthrow this reasoning much sooner than Newton 
himself could go thro' the demonstration. 

A paper may be painted with such a gradual transition 
of color that we can discover no point of distinction ; 
& yet one end shall be perfectly white & the other en- 
tirely black. The changes shall be invisible, but the 
extremities a perfect contrast. 

To make my meaning still more evident, permit 

1787.] NOAH WEBSTER. 177 

me, Sir, to produce an example directly in point from 
the proceedings of the Legislature of Massachusetts. 
It will be granted that when an individual settles upon 
land that belongs to another man he may be ousted by 
ejectment. How far the legality of the principle may 
be extended it is not possible to determine ; but there 
is some point where it must stop. When five thousand 
men have settled upon land without right it is no longer 
a matter of doubt, it is as evident as white & black 
that the intruders ought to be quieted in their pos- 
sessions. The legality of ejectment would in this case & 
ought to be suspended ; because a special law to confirm 
an illegal title would produce less evil than a rigid 
adherence to the general principle of ousting tres- 
passers. On what principle, Sir, but this did the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts proceed in confirming the titles 
of certain settlers in the Province of Main ? The Legis- 
lature acted with great prudence & policy ; for the 
interest of the State required the measure. 

Pennsylvania is now about to decide an important 
question on the same principle. By the decree of Tren- 
ton, the settlers at Wioming are found to be on land to 
which they had no right. They are numerous, they have 
had long possession, they are determined not to quit the 
land, the State therefore finds it policy to confirm their 
title, however illegal, & indemnify the proprietors in some 
other way. This would not be right in a single instance 
of trespass ; but is entirely right with respect to a large 
lody of trespassers. It is ludicrous to hear some people 
express their doubts respecting the right of the legisla- 
ture to confirm their titles, because the constitution de- 
clares that a man shall not be deprived of his property 
without trial by jury. The laugh would however be 
turned into pity & resentment, if a blind zeal for legal 
principles should plunge the State into a civil war, cost 
fifteen thousand pounds, five hundred lives & four thou- 
sand valuable subjects. 


Thus, Sir, I conceive the greatest possible good is the end 
of government, & that a principle which may be indi- 
vidually right & produce good may be publicly wrong & 
produce evil. 

This truth applies most forcibly in the case of the do- 
mestic debt. The greatest number of public creditors 
have lost the greatest proportion of their demands, a 
small number of men have the evidences of the debt 
which cost them an inconsiderable part of the money 
promised on the face of the certificates. The men who 
have a demand in justice cannot make it in law, for the 
certificates are not in their hands. The public meant to 
do justice by its engagements, peculiar & unexpected 
circumstances have disappointed its intentions & turned 
the property into a channel where it ought not to flow ; 
to pursue the words of the public promises would now 
produce an effect directly the reverse of what was de- 
signed ; instead of doing justice it would do injustice, it 
would oppose the end of government by sacrificing the 
greater good to the less. The point is so clear to me that 
it appears needless to add another sentence upon the sub- 
ject. I concieve the zeal for funding the debt to be 
totally mis-timed ; instead of preserving faith it would 
destroy it by a high-handed act of treachery. It is the 
intention of the state which is always right that consti- 
tutes the rule of conduct with respect to promises; for a 
legislature cannot be justified in suffering its wise views 
to be thwarted by accidental circumstances ; much less 
by its own delinquency. 

The Legislature of Massachusetts tell the world in their 
late publications, " that the original creditors may now 
re-purchase their certificates with the same or a less sum of 
money than that they recieved for them." I am sorry to 
see such weak & fallacious reasoning in the declarations of 
that wise and respectable body. Did not the Legislature 
reflect that the same necessity which compelled the cred- 

1787.] NOAH WEBSTER. 179 

itors to sell at first now prevents their purchasing the 
certificates ? Or did they suppose that the poorest of the 
public creditors have grown rich since the war? 

But suppose they had money to purchase generally, 
they could not procure them at their present value. 
Hitherto the sellers have been the most numerous, the 
market has been glutted, & the price low. Reverse the 
case, let the creditors become purchasers & the demand 
would raise the value nearly to the face of the certificates. 

I wish to be candid & respectful. I really believe the 
legislatures of Massachusetts & Pennsylvania to be actu- 
ated by the noblest motives in funding their debts ; but I 
am confident that a re-consideration of the subject will 
make them view it in a very different light. 

I will not multiply arguments ; for your Excellency 
will anticipate me. I have just attempted to refute the 
reasoning of my opponents in two or three particulars, & 
am ready to combat them on any ground. 

The question now is, what shall be done ? I beg leave, 
Sir, to offer the following hints. 

Let each State call in its certificates, at least where the 
depreciation has exceeded 25 per cent. Let new certifi- 
cates be issued, to the original holder, who produces his 
own certificates at the treasury. Let the same sum be 
reissued in certificates payable only to himself; to the 
speculator let there be issued the current value of the 
certificates with interest from the time of issuing ; this 
would be a just compensation for his risque, use of money, 
&c. Or let him have 12 per cent interest to silence all 
complaint, — then issue to the original creditors, whose 
names & credit are on the certificates and the public 
books, the discount at which the certificates sold on their 
first issuing. The difference between the price of certifi- 
cates on the first issuing & their present value is lost in 
the various transfers, it cannot be ascertained & the 
public might gain it on the proposed plan. Let the new 


certificates by no means be transferrable ; for speculation 
is Pandora's box to a State. 

As soon as this is done, let the State ascertain to every 
man his proportion of the whole debt on the principles 
of common taxation. The debt is in certificates, conse- 
quently is all in the country. Every man may pay his 
share as soon as he pleases. If he has certificates, let 
him pay them to the collector taking his receipt in full, 
which shall be his discharge of both principal & interest 
from the time when paid. If he has no certificates, he 
may apply to his neighbor who has, give him his bond or 
pay him in any way that shall be satisfactory, take a 
certificate, which, on being indorsed by the holder that he 
has received the full value, shall be receiveable by the 
collector, who shall give this purchaser a receipt in full. 
So far let the certificates be negociable, that when the 
endorsment specifies to whom they are sold, they shall be 
taken for his taxes only. Let the interest in specie be 
laid in the same tax-bill, & if a man does not pay the 
principal let the collector be empowered to take the in- 
terest at the end of each half year. This would be a 
strong inducement to the immediate discharge of the 
principal, & I am confident that were this plan adopted 
the debt would be cheerfully paid in two or three years. 
The greatest part would be sunk in six months. 

This may be a difficult plan, but not impracticable. At 
any rate it is wisdom to attempt it ; for the people have 
an idea when they see most of their taxes absorbed in the 
metropolis & by a few men that their rulers are endeavor- 
ing to oppress them. An attempt to do justice would 
reconcile people to government. 

I believe the foregoing plan may be executed so far as 
to be satisfactory ; for perfect justice cannot be expected. 
If some compromising measures cannot be fallen upon, I 
could almost wish to see the debt wiped off at once ; this 
would be wicked indeed, but would produce less evil than 

1787.] NOAH WEBSTER. 181 

the payment of it to the present holders by taxes upon 
the losing creditors. 

If the public could raise or borrow money to buy in 
the certificates at their current discount, I should be 
happy ; but it is not practicable, & if it were some con- 
sideration should be made to the original creditors. To 
lose 25 p r cent on our demands is a tolerable evil ; but 
four, six, or eight hundred pr. cent is too much. 

I know not, Sir, what system can be adopted to do 
justice generally & quiet the clamors of the people. But 
of all the measures my imagination can frame, that of 
funding the debt in its present state appears to me the 
most unjust & mischievous. 

Even aside of the principles of justice, a state should 
never suffer such a revolution of property as would be 
the inevitable consequence of funding, & paying the debt 
to the present holders. 

The people of Massachusetts are charged with ig- 
norance & a seditious disposition. But I never knew a 
people who had the means of information ultimately 
& generally wrong; nor did I ever know an insurrec- 
tion raised without cause. The people of Massachusetts 
feel evils & thev ascribe them in some measure to 
wrong causes. They enumerate a catalogue of griev- 
ances which are all trifles, except one — the payment of 
interest in specie on the public securities. This, I am 
warranted to say, is the sole grievance with the more 
thinking men in the opposition ; for I have it from their 
own declaration. People here have an idea that the 
opposition consists of a rabble ; but I know it consists of 
the substantial yeomanry of the country. 

But feiv take arms, for they dread a civil war; the 
majority of the people are however with the insurgents 
in principle. They are right in their views of the do- 
mestic debt; altho' the insurgents are wrong to pursue 
violent measures. 


One of the Eastern States, Connecticut, is decidedly 
opposed to the funding of the debt; some men charge 
them with a knavish disposition to cheat the public 
creditors. I ascribe their opposition to their good sense ; 
altho' individuals may have bad views. I believe their 
opposition proceeds from a regard to public justice & 
have no doubt that in two years all America will come 
over to the sentiment. 

The people in New Jersey have a plan in contempla- 
tion similar to what I have proposed. The Penn- 
sylvanians begin to see their error & regret that they 
have funded the debt. It is believed in this city by 
the most discerning men that the funding act will be 
repealed. Their opinions are changing with incredible 

I have already given your Excellency to much trouble ; 
but my anxiety in this critical state of public affairs must 
be my apology. I have only to add that in the present 
situation of the people of Massachusetts, I could wish to 
see a law passed to prevent a legal recovery of more than 
25 pr. cent annually on private debts now T due & which 
amount to six or eight pounds ; and another law by 
which private credit w T ould be prevented in the purchase 
of foreign articles. I could wish to see small debts con- 
tracted for articles of luxury put out of the protection 
of law. 

The sentiments contained in this letter will be com- 
municated to the public without my name ; # and the sub- 

* This intention was apparently not carried out. In a volume of Essays and Fugitive 
Writings by Noah Webster, published in 1790, which once belonged to George R. Minot, 
the historian of Shays's Rebellion, the substance of the argument appears as No. xxviii. 
In a prefatory note Webster, with a characteristic disregard of the recognized rules of 
spelling, writes: "The following iz part of an 'Essay on the Dets of the United States, 
written in 1787, but never before published. The question haz been ably discussed in 
Congress, and the proposition for a discrimination between original and purchasing holders 
of certificates, which I had started without the prospect of support, haz been maintained by 
very powerful arguments in our federal legislature. Az the question now appears to my 
mind, I should vote against the proposition, yet merely on the ground that from the 
manner the certificates were issued, it iz impossible to discriminate, without multiplying 

1787.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 183 

ject will be more fully discussed in the public papers. If 
some thing be not done to satisfy the people, the Middle 
States will soon be in the situation of Massachusetts. 

I have the honor to be, with perfect respect your Ex- 
cellency's most obedient, most humble servant. 

Noah Webster. 

Philadelphia, March 15th ,1787. 

His Excellency Governor Bowdoin. 


Boston, March 25, 1787. 
His Exc t Ben.t Franklin, Esq r , 

Presid* of y e State of Pennsylvania. 

Sir, — I have had the honour of your Excy's letters of 
the 6 th & 12 th instant, accompanied with the proceedings 
of y e Council & G 1 Assembly of Pensylv a respecting y e 
rebels ag st this State ; together with your proclamation 
for apprehending several of them. 

I beg the favour you will signify to those honourable" 
bodies the cordial thanks of this Commonwealth for their 
concurring with us in the object of our proclamation ; 
and for the readiness with which it was done. At the 
same time please to assure them of a like readiness on 
our part to aid the execution of their measures upon any 
similar or other necessary occasion. 

You will permit me to express my particular thanks to 
you for your kind congratulations on the success of our 
measures taken for the suppression of the insurrection 
in this State, and for your good wishes for its future 
tranquillity. With respect to y e State of Pensylvania, 
it enjoys so many benefits derived from institutions 

the instances of hardship and injustice. But I hav no more dout, that legislatures hav a 
right to interfere, in certain extreme cases, than I hav of any reveeled truth or intuitiv 
proposition ; and were it possible to ascertain the original holders of certificates, I conceev 
our legislators could not have neglected provision for their losses, without violating their 
oaths, the constitution and public faith The following extract iz published because I am 
desirous my opinion on this subject should be known and recordod." — Eds. 


which originated with Doctor Franklin that I cannot wish 
it a greater happiness than to wish he may long be con- 
tinued at the head of it in the character of its first 
magistrate. With great sincerity, and with all possible 
esteem, I have the honour to be, 

Sir, yr. Excy's most ob* & very hble. serv*. 

James Bowdoin. 


Boston, May 14, 1787. 
His Excellency General Washington, 

Member of the Convention, &c., at Philadelphia. 

SiPv, — It must give the highest satisfaction to every 
friend of the Union that the same gentleman who bore 
so distinguished, so capital a part, in emancipating the 
United States is appointed a delegate in the intended 
Convention for perfecting their federal government. It 
is with great earnestness hoped that the plan of Con- 
federation to which that respectable body may agree will 
be well formed for efficient government; and that it will 
be so far unobjectionable as to be approved by Congress 
and adopted by the several States. The Union may then 
answer the purpose of its institution, not only in regard 
to the internal government and mutual interests of the 
States themselves, but also in regard to foreign nations. 
Among the latter the Union might then again appear in 
a reputable light, and be of importance enough to secure 
to itself such commercial advantages as the situation and 
products of the several United States do entitle it to 

Major Erving,* a brother of M" Bowdoin, will have the 
pleasure of delivering you this letter. He was formerly 
an officer in the British army, and has seen a great deal 

* William Erving was born in Boston Sept. 8, 1734, graduated at Harvard College in 
1753, and died unmarried at Jamaica Plain, May 27, 1791. He was the founder of the 
Erving Professorship of Chemistry in Harvard College. See Quincy's History of Harvard 
University, vol. ii. pp. 269, 270. — Eds. 

1787.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 185 

of service. He was particularly at the reduction of the 
Havannah, Louisburg, Quebec, &c, &c, and distinguished 
himself in all those campaigns : but quitted the service 
some years before the British ministry invaded their then 

I have the pleasure to assure you he has always been 
a firm and zealous friend to the rights and liberties of 
America ; and in that character, a character always 
acceptable to General Washington, I beg leave to intro- 
duce him to your Excellency. I have the honour to be, 
with the most perfect regard, dear Sir, 

Yr. Excy's most obed 1 & very hble. serv*. 


Boston, May 16 th , 1787. 

Sir, — The enclosed are copies of letters received from 
Col Newell, commanding officer of one of our regiments 
in the county of Berkshire, and from General Ethan 
Allen of the State of Vermont, by which your Excellency 
will perceive that the rebels who fled from justice from 
this State into the States of Connecticut and Vermont 
are meditating measures for distressing the friends of 
government in the western counties and threathning de- 
struction to the inhabitants who were opposed to them, 
and it appears that they are likely to be joined with some 
force from your State. 

The assurances we have had from neighbouring sister 
States, that they will take effectual measures for appre- 
hending or dispersing these disturbers of the common 
peace leaves no room to doubt of their friendly assistance 
in co-operating with us in effecting so desirable a purpose, 

* Printed from a rough draught, with numerous corrections by Governor Bowdom, and 
indorsed: " Written by Advice of Council." — Eds. 


and preventing the mischief intended. They will be the 
more strongly induced to this from the consideration 
that the spirit of insurrection is infectious, and that if it 
be not perfectly subdued it will create perpetual dis- 
turbances in y e States and may finally issue in anarchy 
and general confusion. 

You will permit us to place a full reliance on the ex- 
ertions of your Excellency for preventing these unhappy 
consequences and every movement that has a tendency 
to promote them. 

I have y e honour to be, with great esteem, Sir, 
Yr. Excy's most ob* hble. serv\ 

Governours of the States of New York, 
of Connecticut & Vermont. 


Boston, May 16 th , 1787. 
The Hon. Nath l Gorham, Rufus King, Nathan 
Dane. EsQ rs , Delegates in Congress. 

Gentlemen, — By the ^enclosed letters you'l perceive 
that the rebels who fled from justice into the States of 
Connecticut, Vermont, &c, are endeavouring to collect a 
force to disturb again the peace and quiet of this State, 
and in particular do threaten the friends of government 
in the western counties who most distinguished them- 
selves in counteracting their enormities. Upon this sub- 
ject is the enclosed letter from me to Governour Clinton 
of New York, which you will please to send to him. 

If our troops had had liberty to pursue the rebels 
wherever they retreated they would before this time 
have been effectually quelled ; but so long as they are 
permitted to take sanctuary in the neighbouring States 
they will be continually harassing this State : and the 

* Printed from a rough draught, the greater part of which is in the handwriting of 
Governor Bowdoin. — Eds. 

1787.] RICHARD PRICE. 187 

evil consequences of such permission if it be continued 
will probably extend to all the States. 

Does it not then concern Congress to take or strongly 
recommend measures to be taken that will effectually 
prevent future insurrections not only in Massachusetts 
but in all the States ? If you, gentlemen, should be of 
this opinion, you will use your influence for that purpose. 
The preventing of insurrections would be a proper subject 
for the consideration of the federal Convention now sitting 
at Philadelphia. 

In one of your late letters you mentioned that the 
Commissioners appointed to run the jurisdiction line 
between this State & New York, would attend on that 
business in June or July ; but we are not yet informed 
of the precise time. In another letter you mentioned 
that Congress had passed a resolution that all the sums 
which had been or might be disbursed by this govern- 
ment on account of the new corps of federal troops lately 
disbanded would be allowed out of the requisitions of 
1784, 1785, or 1786, at the option of the government, & 
that the Resolution w d be transmitted by the Secretary of 
Congress. The resolution however has not been yet 

As this will probably be my last official letter to you, 
I cannot conclude it without bidding you adieu and ex- 
pressing my best wishes for your happiness jointly and 
severally. With y e most perfect regard, I have the 
honour to be, Gent n , yr. most obed* hble. serv*. 

James Bowdoin. 


Hackney, Oct. 10 th , 1787. 

Dear Sir, — Your letter dated in June last I did not 
receive till about a fortnight ago. I return you my best 
thanks for it, and I am truly sensible of the kind and 


favourable attention with which you honour me. The 
approbation you express of my Sermons cannot but be 
particularly pleasing to me, and the observations you 
make on the reasonableness of candour and charity amidst 
our differences of opinion on religious subjects are cer- 
tainly in the highest degree important as well as just. 
A due attention to them would produce universal peace 
in the Christian church. How happy would the State of 
Massachusetts be were it rilled with men of your liberality 
and wisdom. 

For my own part, when I look back on a life now 
pretty far spent, I derive particular satisfaction from the 
remembrance that by the best services I am capable of I 
have endeavoured to promote charity among Christians 
and the interest of general liberty and free discussion as 
in my opinion the best friends to truth and virtue and 
consequently to the happiness and improvem* of the 

I am now waiting with anxiety for an account of the 
result of the deliberations of the Convention of delegates 
at Philadelphia. May God direct them to such a plan of 
federal governm* as shall be most conducive to the peace 
and dignity of the United States, and give a demonstra- 
tion to the world of the happy effects of the American 

We have here been much alarmed by the apprehension 
of a war with France. Should this calamity come upon 
us so soon after the late war, it will be wonderful if a 
convulsion is not produced among us. The pretence for 
it is a point of honour between us and the Stadholder ? 
and a supposed necessity of supporting him ag st his con- 
stituents in order to detach Holland from France and to 
get it into the scale of this country. I am afraid indeed 
that our ministers in their late negotiations have rely'd 
too much on the weakness and embarrassm* 8 of France. 
A war is begun between Russia and Turkey, and a gen- 


eral fermentation seems to be prevailing thro' Europe. 
What events it may immediately produce God only knows ; 
but in the end all will, I doubt not, work for good. 

In a packet w ch I sent in August last to D r Wigglesworth 
I enclosed some copies of a discourse w ch I deliver'd to the 
supporters of a new academical institution lately estab- 
lished here. One of these copies I desired to be convey'd 
to you. I now send another and beg the favour of you to 
convey it to D r Lathrop with my respects. I have also 
inclosed in the packet the Appendix to a new edition 
lately publish'd of my Sermons. I had the pleasure of 
being acquainted with M r and M rs Temple when they were 
in London. Should you think it worth while, deliver my 
kind complim* 8 to them when you happen to see them or 
to write to them. 

Wishing you, dear S r , every comfort that a valuable 
life can be bless'd with, I am, with great regard, 
Your most obedient and humble servant. 

Rich d Price. 


Philad a , May 31, 1788. 

Dear Sir, — I received your favours by Mess™ Gore, 
Hilliard, and Lee, with whose conversation I was much 
pleased, and wish'd for more of it; but their stay with 
us was too short. Whenever you recommend any of 
your friends to me you oblige me. 

I want to know whether your Philosophical Society 
receiv'd the second volume of our Transactions. I sent 
it, but never heard of its arriving. If it miscarried I will 
send another. 

Has your Society among its books the French work 
sur les Arts & les Metiers ? It is voluminous, well exe- 
cuted, and may be useful in our country. I have be- 


queath'd it them in my will ; but if they have it already 
I will substitute some thing else. 

Our ancient correspondence us'd to have something 
philosophical in it. As you are now more free from 
public cares, and I expect to be so in a few months, why 
may we not resume that kind of correspondence ? Our 
much regretted friend Winthrop * once made me the 
compliment that I was good at starting game for philoso- 
phers. Let me try if I can start a little for you. 

Has the question, How came the earth by its magnet- 
ism ever been consider'd ? 

Is it likely that iron ore immediately existed when this 
globe was first form'd, or may it not rather be suppos'd 
a gradual production of time ? 

If the earth is at present magnetical in virtue of the 
masses qf iron ore contain'd in it, might not some ages 
pass before it had magnetic polarity ? 

Since iron ore may exist without that polarity, and by 
being plac'd in certain circumstances may obtain it from 
an external cause, is it not possible that the earth re- 
ceiv'd its magnetism from some such cause ? 

In short, may not a magnetic power exist throughout 
our system, perhaps thro' all systems, so that if men 
could make a voyage in the starry regions a compass 
might be of use ? And may not such universal magnet- 
ism with its uniform direction be serviceable in keeping 
the diurnal revolution of a planet more steady to the 
same axis ? 

Lastly, as the poles of magnets may be changed by the 
presence of stronger magnets, might not in ancient times 
the near passing of some large comet of greater magnetic 
power than this globe of ours have been a means of 
changing its poles, and thereby wracking and deranging 
its surface, placing in different regions the effect of cen- 

* Professor John Winthrop of Harvard College. — Eds. 


trif ugal force, so as to raise the waters of the sea in some 
while they were depress'd in others? 

Let me add another question or two, not relating 
indeed to magnetism, but, however, to the theory of the 

Is not the finding of great quantities of shells and 
bones of animals (natural to hot climates), in the cold 
ones of our present world, some proof that its poles have 
been changed ? 

Is not the supposition that the poles have been changed 
the easiest way of accounting for the deluge by getting 
rid of the old difficulty how to dispose of its waters after 
it was over ; since if the poles were again to be changed 
and plac'd in the present equator the sea would fall there 
about 15 miles in height, and rise as much in the present 
polar regions, and the effect would be proportionable if 
the new poles were plac'd any where between the present 
and the equator ? 

Does not the apparent wrack of the surface of this 
globe, thrown up into long ridges of mountains with 
strata in various positions, make it probable that its inter- 
nal mass is a fluid, but a fluid so dense as to float the 
heaviest of our substances ? Do we know the limit of 
condensation air is capable of? Supposing it to grow 
denser within the surface, in the same proportion nearly 
as we find it does without, at what depth may it be equal 
in density with gold ? 

Can we easily conceive how the strata of the earth 
could have been so derang'd if it had not been a mere 
shell supported by a heavier fluid ? Would not such 
a suppos'd internal fluid globe be immediately sensible 
of a change in the situation of the earth's axis, alter its 
form, and thereby burst the shell & throw up parts of it 
above the rest ; as if we could alter the position of the 
fluid contain'd in the shell of an egg & place its longest 
diameter where the shortest now is, the shell must break ; 


but would be much harder to break if the whole internal 
substance were as solid and hard as the shell ? 

Might not a wave by any means rais'd in this suppos'd 
internal ocean of extreamly dense fluid raise in some 
degree as it passes the present shell of incumbent earth, 
and break it in some places, as in earthquakes? And 
may not the progress of such wave and the disorders 
it occasions among the solids of the shell, account for the 
rumbling sound being first heard at a distance, augment- 
ing as it approaches, and gradually dying away as it 
proceeds; a circumstance observ'd by the inhabitants 
of South America in their last great earthquake, that 
noise coming from a place some degrees north of Lima, 
and being trac'd by enquiry quite down to Buenos Ayres, 
proceeding regularly from north to south at the rate of 
[blank'] leagues p minute, as I was inform' d by a very 
ingenious Peruvian whom I met with at Paris. 

I am ever, my very dear Friend, 

Yours most affectionately. 

B. Franklin. 

Hon ble Ja s Bowdoin, Esq r . 


New York, May 9 th , 1789. 

Sir, — Since my arrival in this place I have been 
honored with your letters of the 18 th of Feb y and 24 th of 

To meet the congratulations and assurances of support 
from those characters whose opinions I revere will be of 
no small service in enabling me to overcome the diffi- 
dence which I have in my own abilities to execute properly 
the important and untried task which my country has 
assigned me. 

No part of my duty will be more delicate and, in 
many instances, more unpleasing than that of nominat- 

1789.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 193 

ing or appointing persons to offices. It will undoubtedly 
often happen that there will be several candidates for the 
same office whose pretensions, abilities, and integrity may 
be nearly equal, and who will come forward so equally 
supported in every respect as almost to require the aid 
of supernatural intuition to fix upon the right. I shall, 
however, in all events have the satisfaction to reflect that 
I entered upon my administration unconhned by a single 
engagement, uninfluenced by any ties of blood or friend- 
ship, and with the best intentions and fullest determina- 
tion to nominate to office those persons only, who upon 
every consideration were the most deserving, and who 
would probably execute their several functions to the 
interest and credit of the American Union, — if such 
characters could be found by my exploring every avenue 
of information respecting their merits and pretensions that 
it was in my power to obtain. 

With great respect & esteem, I am, Sir, 

Your most obed* h ble serv*. 

G. Washington. 

The Hon ble James Bowdoin. 


Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
May 10 th , 1789. 

Sir, — By Captain Scott, who arrived here yesterday 
from London, I had the pleasure of receiving your let- 
ter of the 31 st of July last, informing me of my election 
as a member of the Royal Society, and enclosing the 
diploma. I embrace this first opportunity of expressing 
the high sense I have of the distinguished honour con- 
ferred upon me by that most illustrious body ; and beg 
the favour you will communicate it to them, together 
with my very grateful acknowledgments for the honour 



At the same time you will please to accept my thanks 
for the polite manner in which you have given me the 
notice of it. 

With profound veneration for the Royal Society, and 
great respect for their Secretary, I have the honour to 
be, Sir, 

Your most obed* hble. serv*. 

James Bowdoin. 

The Rev d Charles Peter Layard, D.D., one of the Secretaries of the 
Royal Society at their apartments, Somerset Place, Strand. London. 


Boston, June 4, 1789. 
Rev d Doctor Layard, 

Secy of y e Royal Society, London. 

Rev d Sir, — I had the honour of writing to you y e 10 th 
ultimo ; and by M r Joseph Pope now send a duplicate. 
It gives me pleasure that I have this opportunity of in- 
forming you that M r Pope is a man of great ingenuity in 
the mechanical way. Besides other proofs of it he has 
lately constructed an orrery, which exhibits upon an 
enlarged scale the planetary motions within our solar 
system. It is now the property of the neighbouring 
University at Cambridge, having been purchased for 
about £350 sterling, and far surpasses any thing of 
that kind in America. As M r Pope is going to England 
it is his wish to render himself useful to gentlemen that 
may have occasion to employ him in the line of his busi- 
ness ; and I believe it is in his power to give them entire 
satisfaction. Not only his ingenuity but the sterling hon- 
esty of the man will recommend him. 

I have the honour to be with the most perfect regard, 
Rev d Sir, 

Yr. most obed* & very hble. serv*. 

1789.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 195 


Boston, Oct° 10, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — I have had the pleasure of your letters of 
the 12 th & 28 th September. The former by Maj r Shaw 
about ten days ago, just as I was setting out on a jour- 
ney, and the latter p r M r Thacher I received on my re- 
turn yesterday. It made us happy to know that you & 
Betsy & y e young folks had arrived safe at N. York, 
though the passage was rough & uncomfortable ; and 
we hope her sea-sickness & fatigue, w ch she bore with 
so much fortitude, have been of service to her. It gave 
us particular pleasure to learn that your health was bet- 
ter, and there is no room to doubt of its complete res- 
toration, if you keep up y r spirits, exercise, &c. You 
judged perfectly right in inoculating your g d daughter ; 
and we rejoice with you, that she has happily got through 
the small pox. 

By the character & situation of D r Dwight, I think you 
could not have chosen a better instructor for your son 
James; and I hope he will give you reason to think so 
by his proficience and good conduct. 

From y e enquiries contained in y e Duke of Leeds's 
letter of the 30 th of June, I am of opinion with you, that 
y e British ministry are somewhat alarmed at the encreas- 
ing growth of y e manufactures of the United States. The 
general statement of it, represented in your answer to y e 
Duke's letter, is I believe just, so far as it extends. Sev- 
eral sorts of manufactures going on in this State may 
be added to those mentioned in vour letter : as, wool & 
cotton cards, women's shoes, nails, &c. With respect to 
the first, more than one thousand dozen of wool cards are 
made, as I am informed, in this town monthly ; and they 
are made in other towns also. Our country people are 
all supplied with them, and a considerable quantity is 
exported. With respect to y e shoes, in y e town of Lyn 


only are made more than 170 thousand pair of worn 8 
shoes (besides their leather shoes) annually, most of w ch 
are sent to y e other States : and with respect to nails 
they are made every where, and have effectually stopt 
y e importation of them : considerable quantities being 
exported. I do not mention potash, pearl ash, & sun- 
dry other manufactures, as they are probably not meant 
to be included in y e answer to y e enquiries. 

In a year or two, the returns made to Congress by 
their executive officers will probably furnish y e means of 
a full answer to most of those enquiries ; and until those 
returns can be applied to, any answer must be imperfect. 

The Revolution in France is a most extraordinary one ; 
and from it will result very important consequences, some 
of which it may be conjectured will not be very advan- 
tageous to G. Britain ; but however that may be, if it 
should terminate in a government founded on just prin- 
ciples of liberty, it will be the era of political happiness 
to the French nation. 

M rs Bowdoin sends her most affectionate regards to 
you and her dear daughter, with y e young gentry; in 
which she is with great cordiality joined by, dear Sir, 
Yr. most ob* hble. serv. 

James Bowdoin. 

Sir John Temple. 


New York, 25 th June, 1790. 

Dear Sir, — I am favoured with your letter of the 
■15 th , mentioning M r John Erving & M r Samuel Waldo 
as candidates for offices under the federal government. 
Whether the assumption will take place or not this 
session is at present problematical, altho I think the 
assumptionists have the power of attaining the object; 
but the misfortune is that some of them are influenced 

1790.] MERCY WARREN. 197 

by the Pennsylvanians, all of whom, even those who are 
firmly attached to the assumption, will hazard it & every 
thing else of the highest importance to the Union for 
the paltry object of the temporary residence of Congress. 
The Rhode Island Senators are arrived & the questions 
respecting both the permanent & temporary residence 
are to be agitated on Monday next in the Senate. Upon 
the issue of these matters we shall be able to form some 
judgment of what will be the fate of the State debts, & 
should an opportunity offer of .promoting your wishes 
respecting your nephews, I shall be very happy in co- 
operating in the measures. The House consists of two 
classes, the flinders & anti-funders ; & the former are sub- 
divided into assumptionists & anti-assumptionists. Part 
of the assumptionists have formed a junction with the 
anti-funders & have thrown out the revenue bill, which 
has puzzled the residue of the funders, some of whom 
would be also for the assumption had not the residence 
of Congress been blended therew th . Since the bill was 
rejected I have seen the Secretary of the Treasury & 
find he is pleased with the measure & thinks it a good 
stroke of policy. I have only time to assure you that, 
with great esteem & respect, 

I remain, dear Sir, your most obed* & very hum. ser*. 

E. Gerry. 

The Honble. M r Bowdoin. 


Sir, — My confidence in your friendship & my respect 
for your judgment leads me to submit to your perusal 
a few pieces designed for publication, if not better ad- 
vised by so good a judge. I feel myself very diffident, 
though encouraged by my friends, to embark on the sea 
of public opinion ; but I yet shrink at the idea & keep 

* For notice of Mrs. Warren, see 6 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. ix. p. 397 note. 


my mind open to the strictest scrutiny of friendship & 
candor. I might shew them to many who would criticise, 
to others who might flatter, the one without friendship & 
the other without sincerity ; but your opinion, Sir, which 
I am confident will be the result of both, will lead me 
readily to suppress any of them which you may think 
will neither be pleasing to the public eye or honourary 
to me, who would not have presumed this interruption 
did she not feel more assured of your friendship than 
that of any other gentleman of literature & taste in this 
capital. With respect and esteem 

I am, Sir, your most obedient 

M. Warren. 
My best compliments to M rs Bowdoin. 

N. Boston Square, June 28 th , 1790. 

As soon as M r Bowdoin's leasure will permit, he will 
return the papers with his observations to his obliged 
friend, &c. 


M r Bowdoin presents his most respectful compliments 
to M rs Warren, and acquaints her that in y e afternoon 
or tomorrow morning he is to proceed on a journey into 
Connecticut & to y e western parts of Massachusetts, 
where he will be happy to execute any of M rs Warren's 
commands. He thinks himseli very unfortunate that he 
is obliged to forego the pleasure of reading the manu- 
script poems which accompanied her polite billet of this 
morning. With great reluctance he now returns them ; 
but promises himself no small entertainment upon their 
publication, which he hopes will soon take place ; being 
assured it will be no discredit to American genius. 

M rs Bowdoin with her best compliments hopes for the 
pleasure of seeing M r8 Warren. 

Monday, June 28th. 

1792.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 199 


Boston, October 1 st , 1792. 

My Lord, — The very little acquaintance we had at 
Christ Church, although Gentlemen Commoners of the 
same College, would have hardly justified, in my own 
estimation, the liberty I now take in writing you, had 
not Sir Jn° Temple satisfied me of your Lordship's recol- 
lection of me by presenting me with your compliments 
at your Lordship's request. Be assured, my Lord, the 
circumstance was pleasing to me, and I frequently thot 
of grounding a correspondence upon it, to which I have 
been frequently urged by Sir John. 

The unexpected situation into which England and this 
country have been thrown, arising out of the late Revo- 
lution, must necessarily excite a curiosity to be con- 
versant with the political movements w ch do or may 
agitate the two countries. Although I have much to 
expect, and but little to bestow, still I know too much 
of the policy of the English government to think that a 
gentleman elevated by rank, fortune, and political char- 
acter can be indifferent to the force and effect of the 
measures of the government w cb so eminently distin- 
guishes him, or to those objects and pursuits w ch deter- 

* James Bowdoin, the Governor, died Nov. 6, 1790. After his death his only son, the 
third James Bowdoin, subsequently minister to Spain, dropped the affix "Junior." He 
died Oct. 11, 1811, and with him the male line of descent became extinct, though the 
name Bowdoin was afterward borne by various descendants of his only sister, Lady 
Temple. — Eds. 

f George Nugent- Temple Grenville, first Marquis of Buckingham, was the second son 
of George Grenville, and was born June 17, 1753. He was elected to the House of Com- 
mons in 1774, and took an active part in the debates. Five years later he succeeded his 
uncle Richard as Earl Temple, and obtained the royal license " to take the names and 
arms of Nugent and Temple in addition to his own." In 1782 he was appointed Lord- 
Lieutenant of Ireland, an office which he held for only a few months, until the downfall of 
the Shelburne ministry. At the time of the Coalition ministry he was conspicuous among 
the "King's friends," and after the triumph of Pitt he was created Marquis of Bucking- 
ham. A few years later he was again made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; but resigned 
in less than two years. He died at Stowe Feb. 11, 1813. See Dictionary of National 
Biography, vol. xxiii. pp. 117-119.— Eds. 


mine their action upon the governments such measures 
are meant to have an influence. 

Upon the supposition that a correspondence upon the 
politics of the two countries might not be disagreeable 
to your Lordship, I avail myself of the opportunity of 
my nephew, M r Grenville Temple, of laying its first 

To keep up a good understanding between this coun- 
try and Great Britain upon principles of reciprocity and 
mutual advantage has ever been my wish ; to look for a 
connexion upon other terms would be as impolitick as 
unjust; unjust as it would bestow unequal advantages, 
and impolitick as such a connexion would be only of 
short continuance. For whatever may be pretended to 
the contrary, there is no doubt but the commercial and 
political interests of this country, if not already, will 
shortly be as well understood as those of any of the 
European powers. I take it for granted that the 
knowledge of Great Britain with respect to its foreign 
connexions is perfectly understood ; although in some 
instances of it with respect to this country some have 
been led to doubt it. It is but justice however to say 
that the goodness and cheapness of the English fabricks, 
the honesty and good faith of English merchants have 
given Great Britain a deserved pre-eminence in the 
commerce of this country. How long this superiority 
will remain is to be determined by the future wisdom, 
justice, and moderation of the two countries. Great 
Britain should recollect that y e people of the United 
States are her best customers for her manufactures. An 
open liberal policy looking beyond the advantages of 
the moment would probably secure to her a permanent 
influence in the politics and commerce of this country. 

M r Grenville Temple, the bearer of this letter, is a 
young gentleman of understanding and information, has 
been bred to the bar, and by the short visit he has 

1793.] GEORGE HAMMOND. 201 

lately paid his friends in this country, will be able to 
give your Lordship much local information. He returns 
to Engl d with a view of taking passage for Calcutta in 
India, to follow his profession : a few lines from your 
Lordship to some of your Lordship's friends in India 
would render an eminent service to a deserving and 
intelligent young gentleman. Would your Lordship per- 
mit me to hope for this favour to my nephew, in whose 
welfare I feel myself interested; whilst I can assure 
your Lordship that his gratitude, prudence, and good 
understanding will not discredit your patronage. 

Be assured, my Lord, of the high respect and esteem 
with which I subscribe myself, my Lord, 

Your Lordship's most obed* servant. 

James Bowdoin. 

To the Most Honourable George Grenyille, Esq r , 
Marquis of Buckingham, & a . 



Philadelphia, 27 April, 1793. 

Sir, — I think it my duty to communicate to you by 
the most expeditious means in my power the following 
intelligence, and it will remain with you to determine 
on the measures that may appear the most efficacious for 
giving immediate protection to the commerce and prop- 
erty of his Majesty's subjects in these seas. 

On the 9 th cur* the French frigate Ambuscade arrived 
at Charleston from Rochefort in France, having on board 

* George Hammond was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1763, and at the age of twenty- 
went to Paris as secretary to David Hartley, then negotiating the treaty of peace between 
Great Britain and the United States. Subsequently he served as charge d'affaires at 
Vienna, Copenhagen, and Madrid; and in 1791 he was made minister plenipotentiary to the 
United States. He returned to England in 17'5. He finally retired from public life in 
1828, and died in London April 23, 1853, at the age of ninety. See Dictionary of National 
Biography, vol. xxiv pp 241, 242. — Eds. 


M r Genet, the new French minister to the United States. 
In the course of her voyage to Charleston the Ambuscade 
captured two British brigs. After remaining some days at 
Charleston, she sailed from thence, and on Wednesday 
evening last, the 24 th , appeared off Cape Henlopen, near to 
which she took the British brig Little Sarah, from this port 
to Jamaica. On the following morning she captured in 
Delaware Bay the British ship Grange bound to Liver- 
pool. The Ambuscade is now at Chester in the Dela- 
ware, about fifteen miles from hence, and is expected 
here every hour with her prizes. The Ambuscade is 
pierced for 36 guns, but mounts 32 only. She is com- 
manded by a Captain Bompart, and carries two hundred 
and fifty men. Exclusive of this vessel a pilot was about 
a week ago put on board another French armed ship, 
but of what force I have not been able as yet to 
ascertain. It is also currently reported here that a 
third French armed vessel is now hovering upon these 

As the captures made in the Delaware are unques- 
tionably illegal, being contrary to the law of nations, 
I shall as soon as the prizes arrive demand their restora- 
tion. The discussion consequent upon this demand will 
most probably detain the Ambuscade here for some days 
at least. And as the captain's instructions from the 
French Executive Council are to cruize along the Amer- 
ican coasts, there can, I think, exist little doubt that she 
will continue in the pursuit of that object for some time 
longer, previous to either her return to France or to her 
proceeding to the West Indies. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with great respect, 
Your most obed* hum le servt. 

Geo. Hammond. 

To the Officer commanding his Majesty's ships of war, 


1793.] GEORGE HAMMOND. 203 


Philadelphia, 27 th April, 1793. 
4 o'clock, p. m. 

Sir, — I should have transmitted to you the enclosed 
interesting intelligence last night, had I not waited to 
ascertain precisely the fact of the Ambuscade's being 
in the river. She will, I think, be detained so long here 
that I hope my information to Halifax will arrive in time 
to prevent her further depredations being carried to any 
considerable extent. As I understand from the master 
of a vessel who left Halifax the 12 th cur* that the frigates 
Winchelsea & Hussar were not to sail from thence until 
the arrival of the relief from England consisting of the 
Centurion of fifty guns and some frigates. 

I am so much pressed for time that I can only send 
you a copy of my letter to the commanding naval officer 
on the Halifax station. I shall be much obliged to you 
if you will forward the original immediately by a pilot boat 
to Halifax. You will make such uses of the information 
I now transmit to you as may appear to you, Sir, the 
best calculated for preventing any British vessels sailing 
from New York for some days to come at least. You 
will also be so kind as to accompany my letter to the 
officer at Halifax with any information on the subject 
which you yourself may have received. 

The purport of the annexed letter to Mackaness is to 
delay the departure of the packet, as I shall detain her 
until the conclusion of my negociations with this govern- 
ment for procuring the restoration of the prizes taken in 
the Delaware in defiance of the rights of neutral nations. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, 
Your most obedient, humble servant. 

Geo. Hammond. 

P. S. I send this by express, but under cover to a 
private person at New York, in order to obviate any sus- 


picion which might arise from my letter being addressed 
immediately to yourself. Excuse the haste under which 
this has been written. G. H. 

Sir John Temple, Bart, &c, &c, &c. 


Dorchester, Oct 31 st , 1793, 

My dear Sister, — I embrace y e first leisure opp ty of 
answering your affectionate letter by Cap* Barnard, and 
to thank you for your care in sending me the trees & 
strawberry roots w ch I have rec d . James & Augusta 
will doubtless be arrived before this reaches you, who will 
acquaint you with y e local circumstances of your mother's 
& my family. 

I observe Sir Jn° has wrote for & expects leave of ab- 
sence to go to Engl d , that it is not yet rec d , and I am 
apprehensive from y e present state of affairs in Europe 
that he will hardly obtain it. In a time of war, when 
y e object of contention is principles of government origi- 
nally founded on the prospect of assimulating y e interests 
and politics of France with those of this country, to rival 
y e commerce of England by infusing into a new order of 
things y e spirit of commerce, & to lay its foundation by 
reforming those feudatory claims w ch were its principal 
impediment. The French Revolution had its origin in 
y e rivalship between France & Engl d . The trade of this 
country, w ch was & is a source of so much profit, advan- 
tage, & naval strength to G. Britain, was of sufficient 
importance to engage y e attention of principal characters 
in France to reform the military principles of their gov- 
erning and to accommodate it to y e more effectual ad- 
mission of commerce. The Marquis de la Fayette and 
all y e thinking part of y e principal French officers who 
were here in y e course of our Revolution used to lament 

1793.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 205 

y e insufficiency of their governm* to y e spirit & principles 
of commerce, thro w ch alone, as they used to say, France 
could hope to rival G. B. & to obtain y e superiority in 
Europe her natural advantages entitled her. These 
officers gave y e first motives to y e French Revolution, 
w ch - m ye C ourse «of it, by running far ahead of the senti- 
ments and 'opinions w ch excited it, has swept away in its 
consequences the very characters which first promoted a 
reform & were desireous that France sh d , like Engl d , be- 
come a mixed monarchy. 

Should the French Revolution succeed, w ch it w d seem 
cannot be wholly prevented, France will probably become 
a much greater maritime & commercial power than ever 
she has yet been, in which case there is no reason why 
she sh d not have a great proportion of y e American com- 
merce. She possesses the secrets of manufactures, and 
abounds in people who labour at a cheaper price than in 
England, and it may not be long after y e present cruel 
contest before she will have merchants, manufacturers, & 
manufactures w ch will vie with those of G. B. That com- 
merce delights in free governm ts & most commonly takes 
her residence in such situations is an acknowledged 
truth. If France succeeds in y e establishment of a free, 
efficient government, Engl d will be compelled to either 
relinquish her commerce or her constitution of governm*, 
as I conceive that upon the freedom of y e contending 
governm t3 stands y e direction of y e American commerce 
& the superiority w ch will follow as a necessary conse- 
quence. These observations somewhat outrees to a fe- 
male correspondent are made with a view of impressing 
her with an idea of the importance of the U. S. in their 
present situation & of the interest y e British minister will 
take in all measures in this country w cb respect y e present 
contest ; y e vigilance of the English public officers in this 
country will be strictly required, and of course all hopes 
of leave of absence to Sir Jn° appear to me visionary. 


As connected with this opinion. I understand by James 
that Grenville has given one of a like kind, viz., that the 
English minister w d not probably allow of Sir Jn°' s ab- 
sence from his office at this critical period, & advises 
him to relinquish it, to seek a debt to y e late M r Nelson, 
whose heir Sir Jn° is, to a demand ag st y e governm* of 
£60,000 sterlg. I know not y e justice of the demand any 
more than y e disposition of y e minister to discharge an- 
tiquated claims ; but however forward his inclination 
thereto, yet y e multiplied embarrassments of war, in the 
present scarcity of money in Engl d , will make it very 
uncertain as to the obtaining it, for w ch reason I sh d sup- 
pose it bad policy to relinquish an office w ch I understand 
promises half pay for life in case of being superceeded ; 
a place of .£1500 p an m is hard to be procured, and it 
requires good interest by friends, pretensions, & exer- 
tions to obtain it. As time creeps on age steals upon our 
faculties & powers, of course upon our exertions, and 
very few are able to engage in pursuits at sixty w ch they 
were well calculated to undertake at forty. The pru- 
dence and caution of experience, without very bright & 
tempting prospects, will lead us not to relinquish a 
certainty for an uncertainty. Presently perhaps things 
in England may be in that state of confusion as may 
make a retreat eligible. The principles of y e French 
Revolution may take footing there. The disaffected, 
y e disappointed, y e ambitious, y e distrest, the well wishers 
to a revolution make a strong party in every govern- 
ment, & may become y e predominating one in England. 
All expectations from an old w d in that case be swallowed 
up in a new order of things, and offices & antiquated 
claims upon governm t8 might meet y e fate of y e sponge. 
A revolutionary spirit has gone forth ; where it will stop, 
or how it will be directed ; what further inroads it will 
make upon y e established governm ts of Europe time will 
unfold ; but prudence seems to require that you sh d not 

1793.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 207 

unnecessarily remove yourselves from your present eli- 
gible situation to engage in undertakings of perplexity 
& uncertainty w ch must be probably begun by the sacri- 
fice of an important office. 

By your letters to M rs Winthrop you request the opinion 
of your friends, particularly mine, in regard to James, 
relative to his present pursuits and future prospects ; how 
far his pursuits are consistent with his future prospects, 
or what ought to be his or your expectations in regard to 
them, it is difficult to say. His education, inclination, & 
habits are to determine these things. His education, if 
he attends to it, ought to qualify him for one of y e learned 
professions, w ch if his inclination favours it, his habits, 
manners, & studies sh d be directed to it. But there is 
such a connexion between all y e learned professions that 
success in any of them very much depends upon a well 
directed collegiate education in w ch the rudiments of the 
sciences are to be deeply laid, in order to the making a 
distinguished figure in any of them. These rudiments, 
however, cannot be obtained without industry & close 
application to study. A favourable opp ty now presents 
itself, w ch if rightly improved must be of y e highest im- 
portance to him, whether he pursues either of the learned 
professions or not ; but w ch if neglected must be a per- 
petual source of mortification to him.. Young men who 
go to college should have before them y e expectation of a 
learned profession, and not be suffered to justify their 
inattention to study by thinking they will take to other 
pursuits. For in such cases the mind is left without an 
object, and is thereby deprived of a necessary stimulus to 
exertion. But even this will prove a poor apology to 
their friends or to their own minds for their neglect and 
idleness. The opp ty that James now has is a trial of his 
firmness and determination to improve himself, and it 
will be happy for him if he shall have no occasion to 
reproach himself hereafter. My own negligence for the 


first two years I was at college has occasioned me more 
uneasiness than all the other circumstances of my life. 
To avoid such uneasiness, his own reproaches and those 
of his friends, James sh d endeavour to improve his present 
opp ty in the best manner. Dr. Johnston's # qualifications 
as a scholar, as a distinguished professional character, and 
a statesman, must bestow advantages w ch few situations 
afford ; y e path of the D r ' s literary acquisitions, matured 
by his long experience & practice, must be almost invalu- 
able to a young man who has views to * the bar. If 
James's application and improvement sh d entitle him to 
the esteem and good offices of the worthy D r , he will lead 
him to such objects & pursuits in regard to the study of 
the law as must be highly advantageous to him. 

By these observations you may infer that I consider y e 
bar to be y e most eligible employment for him. The 
business of a lawyer requires a general knowledge of the 
sciences, close application, and a good natural genius. 
The last James has ; a good voice & y e principal requisites 
of a public speaker he also possesses. His present acquire- 
ments, his industry, his love of books, his resolution & 
firmness to prosecute the studies of an ordinary profession 
to acquire fame in it, & thereby to introduce himself at a 
proper season into public employments, must be referred 
to y e opinions of those who are better acquainted with 
him than I am. It is however my idea that if James 
w d resolutely pursue what I think he has capacity to ob- 
tain, he might in a few years become a man of impor- 
tance & independence ; for no one in my view is more 
important or can be justly considered more independent 
than he who has good professional, practical talents. 
The path to wealth, honour, & respect lies strait before 
him, and there is nothing wanting but resolution & y e first 
efforts to obtain what habit will soon render easy, familiar 

* William Samuel Johnson, President of Columbia College, New York. — Eds. 

1793.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 209 

& agreable. Young men are accountable for, and will 
be judged by, their habits. A plan of future life therefore 
sh d be consulted with and pointed out to him; to be 
founded in reason, to be pursued with resolution, and to 
be rendered habitual. Order & method in the distribu- 
tion of time must be brot in aid of such a plan, w ch should 
assign to business & amusement their proper places. As 
I have a regard for James, I sh d like to hear the event of 
a serious consultation of his friends upon the plan of his 
future life, grounded upon his own matured reflections & 
their previous considerations, that by this ceremony he 
may be brot to think it what it really is, an object y e most 
interesting to him. That his plan of future life may not 
be less a benefit to himself than useful to others ; not less 
honourable than pleasing to his friends, nor less calculated 
to improve his own importance, wealth, & understanding 
than hereafter to reward his virtue is my sincere wish. # 

So much of my letter has been taken up with James 
that I have scarcely time or room to acquaint you with 
y e esteem & regard we entertain for Augusta. t As we 
have had more of the pleasure of her company upon this 
than upon any previous visit, her amiable and engaging 
behaviour has stampt upon us the most agreable impres- 
sions. I think her deserving the affection & esteem of 
all her friends, particularly of her parents, as her appre- 
hensions & anxieties for their safety & welfare seemed 
to shut out enjoyment, & to make a greater impression 
upon her than upon any .other person I ever knew of her 
age. Sensibility, good sense, and discernment distinguish 
her, except in one point, ag st w cb she ought to be cau- 
tioned. The fear of growing fat induces her to make free 

* James B. Temple, second son of Sir John Temple, was born June 7, 1776, graduated 
at Columbia College in 1795, entered the British armv, afterward assumed the name of 
Bowdoin, and died Oct. 31, 1842. See Catalogue of Columbia College ; New Eng. Hist, 
and Gen. Reg., vol. x. pp. 76, 78. — Eds. 

t Augusta, youngest child of Sir John Temple, was born about 1780, maTried William 
L. Palmer, and died Aug. 18, 1852. — Eds. 



with magnsetia, acids, and other things of the kind w ch 
will not produce the effect for w ch she uses them, but 
must inevitably destroy her health. Augusta will un- 
doubtedly make an engaging, pretty woman if she does 
not tamper with things of the kind above mentioned. 
Withhold this part of my letter from her. 

Inclosed you have GrenvihVs letter to me, w ch I send 
you for your reading. The Marquis of Buckingham it 
seems puts the great man upon me & upon him. It is 
y e first, & it shall be y e last, letter I shall write him. It 
appears to me titles & fortune ill become a man who suf- 
fers empty pride to take hold of him. The time is fas^t 
approaching when meer haughty pretensions without 
something more than titles to support them will rather 
excite the ridicule & contempt than the honour & respect 
of mankind. 

Remember me affectionately to Sir Jn°, to James & 
Augusta, & believe me most sincerely yours. 

James Bowdoin. 

M rs B. presents her best regards, & means to write to 
you by the first opp ty . 


Boston, June 27 th , 1794. 
To the Overseers & Corporation of Bowdoin College. 

Gentlemen, — The General Court having established 
a public seminary of learning in the District of Maine, 
for the purpose of diffusing literature and useful knowl- 
edge, whereby it may be reasonably expected that the 
seeds of science, deeply sown in the natural genius of its 
inhabitants, will soon be seen to blossom, to fructify, and 
to contribute to the general stock of scientific informa- 
tion in the United States, you, Gentlemen, being selected 


for the honourable purpose of laying the first foundation 
of an institution upon the prosperity of which the future 
character, dignity, and prosperity of the District of Maine 
will materially depend ; however important the commis- 
sion, arduous the undertaking, or difficult the task, I have 
no doubt of your prudence, wisdom, and capacity to 
full fill the trust committed to you ; you'll permit me, 
however, to suggest that the honourable testimonial of 
respect paid in the establishment to the name, the char- 
acter, the talents, and virtues of my late father, must 
attach me in a peculiar degree to an institution in y e suc- 
cess of w ch I feel myself deeply interested. 

Bowdoin College shall receive the feeble aid of my en- 
deavours to promote its usefulness, interest, and welfare, 
and as a first step to the design, suffer me to say that as 
soon as you shall signify your acceptance by the votes of 
your respective bodies of the sum of one thousand dollars 
in specie, and of one thousand acres of land situated in 
the town of Bowdoin, to be disposed of in such way and 
manner as you shall deem best to subserve the designs 
of the institution, I stand ready to pay the said sum to 
whomsoever you shall direct to receive it, and to make y e 
necessary conveyance of the land as aforesaid. 

Wishing you every success in the important trust com- 
mitted to you, I have the honour, to be, Gentlemen, 
Your most obed* & very hble. serv*. 

James Bowdoin. 


Portland, December 27 th , 1794. 
Hon'ble James Bowdoin, Esq. 

Sir, — The Board of Overseers of Bowdoin College 
have the honor and satisfaction to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter of the 27th of June last. On their 


behalf we now transmit to you an attested copy of their 
vote by which they have accepted your free and gener- 
ous donation, and appointed the Hon'ble David Mitchell, 
Esqr., to receive it. 

As the only testimonial of their gratitude which is in 
their power to present we are charged to express to you 
their sincerest acknowledgements, both for the donation 
itself and the intimation of your future design to pro- 
mote the usefulness of the institution. 

We are happy, Sir, in the reflection that you have thus 
become an early and liberal patron to Bowdoin College. 
This will animate those who shall from time to time have 
the superintendency and management of it to co-operate 
with you, as far as their feeble efforts can extend, in your 
laudable intention to contribute to its character and dig- 
nity ; and we anticipate with a high degree of confidence 
that under a government which depends upon the spread 
of knowledge for its support, the learned and wealthy 
part of the community will bestow upon it their smiles 
& patronage, so that it may soon and lastingly flourish 
under a name which has been so justly dear and valu- 
able to the friends of humanity & science. We rejoice 
that with this name the College has been honoured, 
and it affords us addititional pleasure to reflect that 
its patron is cloathed with the mantle of his father's 

We devoutly wish him every earthly felicity and an 
immortality in that happy place where charity will re- 
ceive its complete reward. 

We have the honor to be, Sir, with profound respect, 
Your most hble. serv t8 . 

Dan'l Davis, ) A Committee of the 
Sam. Freeman, > Board of Overseers 
Elijah Kellogg, ) of Bowdoin College. 

1797.] GEORGE ERVING. 213 


London, the 1 st of Aug*, 1797. 

Mr dear Sir, — I had the pleasure of receiving your 
letter of the 15 th of March, by your nephew M r Ja 8 B. 
Temple. This of itself wou'd entitle him to my partic- 
ular attentions, but this added to the consideration of 
his other valuable connections and his own merits give 
him an undoubted claim to my friendship & attachment. 
Be assured that I shall pay him every requisite friendly 
attention in my power. He appears to me to be a young 
man of the best hopes, very easy & pleasant in his tem- 
per, and by all that I can observe very discreet in the 
choice of his company, and well regulated in his general 
conduct. A few weeks ago he had expectations of pur- 
chasing a cornecy in the Dragoon Guards quarter' d in 
Ireland at upw ds of £500, but having been disappointed 
in this object, he has purchas'd an ensigncy in the 50 th 
Beg* quartered in Jersey at £260. I own that this last 
step has given me much more pleasure than the former 
wou'd have done. He will be now at much less expence 
of money & constitution than he wou'd have been, and 
his promotions will go on easier and more rapidly. 

The whole publick attention seems directed to the 
negotiation now going on at Lisle between this court and 
the republick of France for a peace, and tho' the treaty 
has been open upwards of three weeks not a word has 
yet transpir'd from any good authority of what the terms 
are like to be. Every endeavour that ingenuity cou'd 
devise has been exerted in vain to penetrate into this 
most important secret. The mind is worried with con- 
jecture ; speculation is almost exhausted ; and men are 
left to a loose unbounded range of opinion. Some 
wicked ones suppose that if there sh'd be a peace, it may 

* For a notice of George Erving, see 6 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. ix. p. 472 note. He was 
the uncle of the younger James Bowdoin, and father of George W. Erving. — Eds. 


be litterally such an one as we read of, " that passes all 
understanding." The majority of opinions, however, is 
that the treaty will come to nought. They intimate 
that they have already seen serio-comic farces of this 
sort acted, and suppose that this, with a little change of 
dress and scenery, will have the same finale. But I, 
who am of the minority among the multitude, am of a 
different opinion. I think that the ministry are now 
sincere, and that the treaty will terminate in a peace, 
unless something very unforeseen sh'd turn up ; not that 
the animosity of the parties has in the least abated or 
that the voice of humanity is in the least attended to, but 
the exhaustion of strength which makes peace more a 
necessary than a desirable object. In short, it appears 
that the war must burn out for want of fuel. Those who 
give France the credit of singly withstanding almost all 
the powers in Europe, and at the same time maintain- 
ing a most ferocious & desolating civil war in the bowels 
of their country, and finally triumphing over all her 
enemies and establishing her new government upon a 
firm and perhaps immoveable basis, go too far. France 
did not stand forth singly, as is suggested, but had an 
ally more powerful than the whole union ; an ally that 
encreased in strength as the other parties grew languid, 
and is now in the fullest vigour when they are seemingly 
exhausted. You can be at no loss to perceive that this 
ally is our national debt. The enormous size that this 
has grown to calls on us most imperiously for peace. 
We have carried the war to as great an extent as our 
strength and situation will admit. Almost all the dis- 
tant colonies of the French and Dutch are taken ; the 
trade of the Dutch, French, and Spaniards almost an- 
nihilated ; and the principal ports of the three powers 
completely blockaded by our fleets. If the war shou'd be 
continu'd another year the question may be, What are 
we to get to compensate for the 42 mil that must be ex- 

1797.] GEORGE ERYING. 215 

pended in the course of it ? Why, Sir, carrying on war 
in this way is like pelting frogs with diamonds. I was 
one who always tho't, and do yet believe, that the terri- 
tory and property of every other description that we 
have taken has been obtain'd at double the price by the 
sword to what it might have been acquir'd at by direct 
purchase with money, to say nothing in the latter case of 
the abatement of human misery. I believe that had this 
court before it struck a blow offer' d 100 or 150 mil 8 for 
all that they have taken, the French wou'd have jump'd 
at the offer, and given a warrantee deed for the quiet 
possession, — till another war, at least. Whereas now on 
the settling of a peace, it is probable that a great part of 
what the sword has acquir'd will be restor'd. What is to 
follow after a peace, when the French are left in pos- 
session of such a large territory annex'd to their own 
immense country, and under a free government, is diffi- 
cult to say. I dare not even hazard a conjecture. The 
immagination is fill'd with conceptions of w r onderful 
changes that must take place in the moral & political 
world in the course of another century in consequence of 
the astonishing revolutions of France & America. 

I am very happy to find by the last acc ts from America 
that the Congress are adopting, in my opinion, the wisest 
step it can take to put an end to the dispute with France. 
America has undoubtedly had great provocation from all 
the powers at war, and such as might justify a different 
conduct on her part ; but the measures they are taking 
under all the given circumstances of things appear to 
be the wisest & best. Twenty or thirty years hence it 
may be the reverse. The plan of fitting out three or 
four frigates appears not a well digested measure; the 
expence of such an armament, such as it is, will bear 
heavy on the publick purse, cause great murmuring & dis- 
contents among the country members, greatly augment 
the national debt, increase the fermentation among the 


parties, and in the end be of little utility to any but the 
chief executive in enabling him to create influence by 
posts, jobs, and patronage, things always to be avoided 
in all governments if possible, but mostly so in republics. 
The best way might be, if compel'd to arm, to leave it to 
the trade who are the immediately injur' d party to make 
their own reprisals, and in their own way, by fitting out 
privateers to annoy the trade of their enemy. With such 
a vast line of sea coast, such numbers of men, and with 
the faculty and means of building ships in every part of 
the union, such swarms of privateers may be sent to sea 
as soon to make a commercial nation sick of hostilities 
with you. If you consider what America did last war 
with her privateers, when most of her seaports w T ere in 
possession of the English, and she labour'd under almost 
every other disadvantage, you may better judge what 
under the improv'd circumstances of her situation she 
may now do. On the contrary, three or four frigates 
only as a national fleet of the second commercial power 
in the world for the defence & protection of its trade, 
might be a matter more of ridicule than of dread. 

My son is yet in France, and I begin to think will not 
return till the return of peace. Kemember me very 
kindly to M rs Bowdoin, and believe me, with great sin- 
cerity, d r Sir, 

Your most faithful & obed fc serv*. 

Geo. Erving. 


Philadelphia, 31 March, 1798. 

Sir, — The affair of Captain Tucker, of his Majesty's 
sloop of war the Hunter, which took place at New York 

* Sir Robert Liston, minister from Great Britain to the United States from 1796 to the 
latter part of 1800, was born in Scotland Oct. 8, 1742, and died in his native country July 
15, 1836. For more than thirty years he was in the British diplomatic service. See Dic- 
tionary of National Biography, vol. xxxiii. pp. 356, 357. — Eds. 

1798.] ROBERT LISTON. 217 

during my late excursion to the South, has given me 
very serious concern ; and I think it proper to state to 
you my sentiments concerning the business fully, in the 
hopes of preventing if possible the recurrence of circum- 
stances of so disagreeable a nature in time to come. 

An explanation appears to be the more necessary, as 
in your letter in which you give me some account of this 
matter you mention the probability that a complaint 
will be made on the subject to me or to his Majesty's 
Secretary of State (through the American envoy in 
London) ; whereas I have on the contrary thought myself 
called upon to make remonstrances to the American 
ministry here on the improper and offensive proceedings 
of the public officers at New York on this occasion. 

You are not unacquainted, Sir, with my general senti- 
ments respecting the forcible enrollment of American 
^seamen on board of our men of war. I am decidedly 
of opinion that the King's naval officers ought not to 
impress the citizens of the United States, and that if by 
accident any such citizens have been impressed they 
ought not to be detained on board. 

(One exception only occurs to me. It is when an 
American seaman has entered voluntarily into the King's 
service and received his Majesty's bounty. In that case, 
whatever doubt there may be of the wisdom or policy of 
such enlistments I think it clear that the captains of our 
ships have a right to detain the person and to exact the 
services of the man so engaged.) 

But when it is known or suspected that real Americans 
are held by compulsion on board of the King's ships, by 
what means are they to be released ? 

Not (I answer) by means of any legal proceedings 
under the authority of the government of the country 
where the ships happen to be stationed. According to 
the custom of nations I conceive that ships of war are 
in some degree on the same footing with the houses of 


ambassadors. No officer of justice can enter them with- 
out leave previously asked and obtained ; unless perhaps 
in extreme cases, such as that of a refusal to give up a 
criminal charged with murder or treason, cases which cer- 
tainly did not exist in the instance in question. 

There is also a respect and deference due to the persons 
of officers when they come on shore. In many countries 
of Europe they enjoy certain privileges and exemptions 
which are defined and established. 

Now what took place at New York appears to me to 
have been a faulty and mortifying disregard of the rules 
of propriety and decorum thus reciprocally observed 
among- civilized nations. The issuing of the writ from 
the Mayor's Court against the commander of a British 
ship of war was an irregular proceeding of w T hich Captain 
Tucker would have been justified in opposing the enforce- 
ment in whatever place it had been undertaken ; but the 
attempt to arrest him in his own ship, the threats em- 
ployed by the commandant of the fort on Governor's 
Island to prevent him from sailing (though the safety 
of the ship required it), the indecency of extorting from 
him the King's commission (by way of security) were 
insults which he ought to have repelled at all hazards 
and by every means in his power. 

In my eyes, Sir, when a demand of the nature alluded 
to is to be made, the only proper channel from the mem- 
bers of the government which conceives itself injured to 
the commander of a British ship of war is through the 
medium of his Majesty's consuls or his minister in this 
country. Interposition on emergencies of this sort ap- 
pears to be one of the most useful branches of the duty 
of a consul or minister in America in the present crisis. 
It gives me pain therefore to observe that you did not 
view the matter in the same light; (if credit is to be 
given to what is stated by the sheriff in his deposition 
published in the newspapers, — that you declined any 

1798.] ROBERT LISTON 219 

interference whatever upon the occasion, and said that he 

— {the sheriff — ) must proceed to the discharge of his duly, 
&c ;) and I flatter myself that what I have now hinted at 
with regard to the practice of other nations will convince 
you of the propriety of employing your good offices to 
prevent in future the civil magistrates of New York 
from having recourse to any process of law against the 
commanders of British ships. It is unnecessary to re- 
mark that the reception such an attempt might meet 
with from officers of a different temper from M r Tucker 
might possibly endanger the peace between the two 

You say u You have no authority over British commanders; 

— that they are independent of you " — (I quote from the 
sheriff's printed deposition). The fact certainly is so: 
you cannot issue orders ; you cannot give directions. But 
I have no doubt that representations on your part would 
have the desired effect. From my own experience I can 
say that since my arrival in this country applications made 
by his Majesty's consuls in the different parts of the 
United States or by myself in favour of real American 
seamen have never in a single instance [when accompanied 
with authentick documents of citizenship) failed of success. I 
am confident therefore that had you made remonstrances 
in favour of the (supposed) American citizens in behalf of 
whom the writs were issued out of the Mayor's Court of 
New York, and had Captain Tucker released them in 
compliance with what you had represented (always sup- 
posing that there were irrefragable proofs of the reality 
of the rights of the parties claiming) Admiral Vandeput 
would have confirmed and approved what he had done : 
whereas I am afraid that neither he nor any other 
British officer of real spirit can think of what actually 
took place without feeling a considerable degree of 

To prevent any possibility of a mistake with regard to 


my meaning when I speak of the privileges of the offi- 
cers of the navy and the respect due to them in for- 
eign countries, I beg leave to state that 1 principally 
allude to what concerns the exercise of their publick 
duty (such for instance as their refusal to give up desert- 
ers or liberate volunteers, &c.) ; and that I do not pretend 
to insinuate that they are not subject to the laws of the 
country in what regards their private conduct when on 

Again, when I express my confident opinion that the 
Admiral commanding on this station will approve of the 
restitution of American citizens on your representation, 
when that representation is accompanied with satisfactory 
documents, I think it right to repeat what I have said on 
former occasions on this subject. By citizens I under- 
stand those only who are natives of this country or who 
were settled in it previous to the recognition of independ- 
ence. And the documents I allude to are not the papers 
usually called protections, or the certificates granted by the 
collectors of the customs in conformity to the circular 
letter of the Secretary of the Treasury of July, 1796, 
These papers are so loose and vague in their terms, and 
the frauds committed with regard to them are so frequent 
and so scandalous, that the Lords of the Admiralty have 
authorized the commanders of his Majesty's ships of war 
to refuse paying any attention. to them when they are 
unaccompanied with other proofs. Your interference 
therefore in favour of American seamen is justifiable 
only in cases where such evidence of birth or residence 
is produced as leaves no doubt on your own mind of the 
bond fide right of the claimant. 

I remain with perfect truth and regard, Sir, 

Your most obedient, humble servant. 

Eob. Liston. 

Sir John Temple, Bart. 

1800.] PKEESON BOWDOIN. 221 


Norfolk, Virginia, March 30 th , 1800. 
James Bowdoin, Esq r . 

D B Sir, — You may perhaps be surpris'd at receiving 
a letter from a person so little known, or perhaps totally 
unknown, but as a relative & a quondam acquaint- 
ance of your deceas'd father, am embolden'd to address 
you on a subject of the first importance to me, no less 
than the education of a child. Without farther preface 
therefor you'll permit me to inform you that I have a 
son about 13 years of age, who has been at school from 
an early period to this time, & his tutor, who is a very 
worthy clergyman, tells me that the rudiments of letters 
& science are well laid, that he is a boy of some genius, 
& I can venture to say of a most amiable disposition ; 
he is now reading Horace & Greek, but his present tutor 
being about to quit that line of life, & there being no 
seminary in this State that entirely meets my appro- 
bation, am at a loss as to the sequel of his education. 
From the establish'd character of the College at Cam- 
bridge, not only as to education, but what I deem of 
still greater consequence the attention paid to the morals 
of the students, have it in contemplation to send my son 
there, tho' there is one circumstance you'll permit me 
to mention, that is, that at the seminaries generally 
throughout New England an idea prevails here that the 
students have not the priviledge of attending the place 
of worship to which they have been us'd, but are con- 
fin' d to a particular one, tho' this is so repugnant to 
that liberty of conscience for which we all contend that 
I cannot suppose that such is the fact. You'll therefor 
permit me to ask the favor of you to give me a par- 
ticular account of the College, at what age or at what 
stage of education boys are admitted, or if there is 
any school in which they may so far complete their 


education as to capacitate them for the College, also 
the expence attendant, & any further information you 
may judge necessary & should you on the whole rec- 
ommend sending my son there, believe I shall do so, 
& perhaps may accompany him myself, as I am very 
desirous of once more seeing my friends in Boston, in 
which case, as it is such a distance from me, may I hope 
that you will be good enough to take my son under your 
patronage. I thought it necessary to be thus particular 
as to his age & progress in learning that you might the 
better judge how far he might be qualify'd for a college. 

If your mother is living, please present my most re- 
spectful compliments, also to your sister,* who I presume 
is in Boston since the death of her husband, likewise to 
your lady tho' to her unknown. Hope you'll excuse this 
freedom & favor me with an answer as soon as may be. 

With sentiments of perfect esteem, 

I am, d r sir, yr. m° obd*. 

Peeeson Bowdoin. 


London, 10 Oct°, 1800. 

Dear Sir, — I had the pleasure of writing to you 
on the 6 th ult° by the Diana. I now enclose you M r 
Wright's bill & rec fc for certain books, and Cap* Knox's 
rec* for a box contain g them. As you left the choice of 
the books to me, I was considerably puzzl'd in selecting 
such as I tho't you may not have seen, and that were at 
once instructive & entertaining, and it will be a pleasure 
to me to hear that I have thus far succeeded. You will 
see by the amount of the bill that I have not yet half 
fulfill'd your commission. By the next I may go a little 
further, and at last perhaps leave a part for any particu- 
lar directions you may wish to send. The Machiavel was 

* The widow of Sir John Temple. — Eds. 

1800.] GEORGE ERVING. 223 

the very best I cou'd find ; it has become rather a scarce 
book, nor is it likely there will soon be a new edition. 
The Embassy to Arva is quite new, and opens to us 
a communication with a country of vast extent & popu- 
lation, and susceptible of many valuable branches of 
commercial intercourse. The travels of Sonnini in Egypt 
are thot to contain the best account of that interesting 
country that has been publish'd by any modern traveller ; 
and setting aside a little of the light frippery of the 
Frenchmen, he seems to be more of a scientific, philo- 
sophick traveller than is commonly to be met with. 
The Life of Catharine, if you have never before, may 
afford you very considerable information & entertain- 
ment, and what must be very gratifying to the reader, 
it is suppos'd to be in all material points strictly authen- 
tick. Gray's Poems, you have doubtless seen, and re- 
printed them upon your memory. I send them only as 
a specimen of the neatness & ellegance to which we have 
arriv'd in the manufacture of paper and types. Char- 
chard's map is an exact copy of the great one, on a 
reduc'd scale. 

Sir Grenville & Lady Temple and the Cap* came to 
town a few days ago from Cheltenham, and appear to be 
in perfect health. In a letter which I wrote the other 
day to y r sister Lady Temple I acquainted her that James 
was like to succeed in the exchange he was then negotiat- 
ing into the 65 th , but am sorry now to say that he has 
been disappointed. He is, however, very sharply on the 
lookout, and may by and by find a favorable opportunity. 
He may probably write you by this conveyance, and be 
more explicit on this subject. 

You will soon hear that the American Com rs have at 
length settl'd preliminaries of a treaty of amity & com- 
merce with the French Republick. What the articles 
are has not yet transpir'd. If they contain a renewal 
of the old treaty, it, in my opinion, will produce hostili- 


ties between this country & America, unless this country 
sh'd make peace with France. There has been a kind 
of negotiation carrying on lately between us & France ; 
and hopes were at one time pretty elate that it might be 
brot to a favorable issue. These hopes are now over, for 
the negotiation is at an end, and no prospect of speedily 
renewing it. So, if the war is to go on, it must neces- 
sarily involve America. They of course will open their 
trade with France and her colonies under the rights 
of her treaty; their ships will betaken by British cruisers 
going into French ports, and this may unhappily bring 
on a rupture. 

Kemember me very kindly to M rs Bowdoin, and be- 
lieve me to be very truly, d r Sir, 

Your very faithful & obed* 

Geo. Erving. 


Washington, March 3 d , 1802. 

Dear Sir, — The question on the repeal of the judi- 
ciary sistem of the last session of Congress was this 
afternoon taken on the third reading of the bill by yeas 
& nays ; in favour of the repeal 59, against it 32. Very 
few subjects have taken up so much time in Congress as 
this, the arguments have been unusually lengthy & de- 
sultry, the opposition gentlemen have paid less respect 
to decency, perticularly as respects the President, than 
has ever been known heretofore, many of them appeared 
to take perticular pains to go out of their way for the 

* Gen. Henry Dearborn was born in North Hampton, N". H., Feb. 23, 175], and died at 
Roxbury June 6, 1829. On the breaking out of hostilities with the mother country he 
joined the army and served with credit through the war. In 1789 he was appointed United 
States Marshal for Maine ; and from 1793 to 1797 he was a member of Congress. In 1801 
he was appointed by Jefferson Secretary of War; this office he filled through both of Jef- 
ferson's administrations. From 1809 to 1812 he was collector of the port of Boston, in 
which office he succeeded General Lincoln. From 1822 to 1824 he was minister to Portugal. 
After the death of his first wife he married the widow of Mr. Bowdoin. See Appleton's 
Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. ii. p. 117. — Eds. 

1802.] HENRY DEARBORN". 225 

purpose of treating the President not only with disre- 
spect but to charge him with almost every kind of mis- 
conduct in direct termes. In fact they seem to have lost 
all sence of common decency, they affect to believe that 
the Constitution is totally distroy'd and make strong in- 
sinuations that an insurrection & civil war will be the 
result. Indeed if we are to judge of their wishes & inten- 
tions by the language they have used in debate, we must 
presume that every means in their power will be used to 
produce a serious opposition to the measures of govern- 
ment. I have been the most astonished at the conduct 
of the gentlemen from Massachusetts, knowing, as they 
and every other person of any information in the State 
must know, what has been the settled and uniform opin- 
nion there on a subject precisely similar, which has been 
fully considered both by the Legislature and by the judges 
of all our courts, having been discussed almost every ses- 
sion of the Gen 1 Court for ten or twelve years past, and 
with all the heat, zeal, & party feelings which the dif- 
ferent proposed sistims for doing away the Courts of 
Common Pleas have produced, not a single man ever 
appeared to doubt of the constitutional right to remove 
the offices of those judges who hold their places during 
good behavior, or in other words by the same tenure that 
the judges of the Inferior Courts of the United States 
hold their places, and yet when Congress attempt to 
do what the Gen 1 Court of Massachusetts had a right 
to do, as agreed to on all hands, it is nothing short of 
a most violent attack on the very existence of the Con- 
stitution. Doct r Eustis in debate yesterday expressed an 
oppinnion fully in favour of the constitutionality of the 
measure but has perhaps some doubts as to the expedi- 
ency, (there is some reason to suspect that he will have 
doubts on several important measures which will prob- 
ably be decided on in the course of the present ses- 
sion). He has a great deal more prudence than I had 



heretofore given him credit for as a politician. (But 
this in confidence.) 

Please to present my most respectfull compliments to 
M rs Bowdoin, and believe me to be, with sentiments of the 
highest esteem and respect, 

Sir, your obed* hum' serv*. 

H. Dearborn. 

Honbl James Bowdoin. 


Washington, April 10 th , 1802. 

Dear Sir, — I have been honoured with your letter of 
the 20 th ult°. The Secretary of the Treasury informs me 
that the information you wish relating to exports cannot 
be given with sufficient accuracy but by a collection of 
materials from voluminous documents which he will have 
prepared for you as soon as the present press of business 
abates. I shall not neglect to remind him of the propri- 
ety of furnishing the whole of the information you de- 
sired, and as soon as I can obtain it no time shall be lost 
in transmitting it. There is reason to believe that our 
friend E, # is sensible of the effect his conduct has had on 
the minds of his friends, and I hope it will serve to pre- 
vent a repetition of similar conduct. The leading char- 
acters among the fede* appear to have abandoned every 
idea of any thing like a compromise, and consiquently 
are to be considered as open & avowed enimies ; they ap- 
pear to rely principally on writing down (as they term it) 
the present administration through the channell of their 
newspapers. The industrious and unremitting application 
of the tallants they possess, may, in a country like this, 
where newspapers are so generally circulated, produce 

* William Eustis ; when this letter was written, a member of the House of Representa- 
tives from Massachusetts. He succeeded Dearborn as Secretary of War on the inaugura- 
tion of Madison. — Eds. 

1802.] IIENRY DEARBORN. 227 

very important effects, unless eaqual industry is used on 
the opposite side. The inveterate and indecent conduct 
of the opposition members & their partizans has very 
much the appearance of despair. The convultions they 
had predicted as the effect of the repeal of the judiciary 
sistem have not yet been produced, and there is reason to 
believe that they now despair of any considerable aid 
from that source. They are fully aware of the popularity 
which will result from economy & a diminution of taxes, 
and of cours will make every exertion in their power to 
counteract the effects they so much dread. From the 
various accounts we receive from Massachusetts relative 
to the election we are at a loss in forming an oppinnion 
on the result, but the most prevailing sentiment here is, 
that M r Strong will be re-elected by a considerable ma- 
jority, that in the Senate the Republicans will prevail, 
and that the House will be better than the last ; but we 
entertain strong doubts of a Republican majority in Bos- 
ton. We are in an anxious state of suspense, but expect 
soon to be relieved. It is most devoutly hoped by all 
our Republican friends now at this place that our Ge?i l * & 
his friends will hereafter consent to a change in the can- 
didate for L* Gov r . There can be no remaining doubt in 
the minds of men of information, but that a change from 
our Gen 1 to M r B. would produce a very important effect 
on the election, nothing but a fear of dividing the Re- 
publican interest has prevented the change above alluded 
to the two last elections. I am not convinced that the 
candidate for Gov r has, or can, command as many votes 
as another gentleman of my aquaintance would if set 
up. We have not yet received any information to be 
relied on respecting the New Hampshire election ; the 
accounts in the different papers are so various that we 
can only conjecture that Gilman is re-elected. 

* Gen. William Heath was for several years the Republican candidate for Lieutenant- 
Governor, and was elected in 1806, but declined to accept the office. — Eds. 


Please, Sir, to tender my most respectfull compliments 

to M rs Bowdoin; and accept the assurances of my most 

respectfull esteem. „ -p. 

1 H. Dearborn. 

P. S. Sir, I herewith enclose a newspaper published 
in this city, in which you will see a piece addressed to 
M r Bayard. This piece has placed M r B. in a very un- 
pleasant situation ; he appears to feel it very sensibly ; 
the writer is a man of tallent & respectability, who has 
more rods prepared if M r B. should venture to take the 
Hon ble James Bowdoin. 


Washington, April 20 th , 1802. 

Dear Sir, — I have made a collection of such printed 
& other documents as have come to my knowledge, and 
if I hereafter find any others which appertain to your 
requisition, I will with great pleasure forward them ; no 
expence has, or will accrue in the collection or forwarding 
of those papers. 

The Republicans appear to have met with not only a 
defeat, but an overthrow in Boston ; we have yet no 
means of accounting for so great a falling off. I hope 
the effect will be such as it should be, that of increased 
animation and vigorous exertions on the part of the Re- 
publicans. I should presume that pride of corps must 
come in aid to the other feelings of the Republicans, and 
that from a combination of motives & feelings they must 
be roused to the greatest exertions. Brave soldiers (es- 
pecially when engaged in the cause of virtue) never fail 
of deriving fresh vigor from a partial defeat. I hope 
that M r G. nor our G\ # will be again considered as candi- 
dates ; their having been so often, not only beaten but 

* Elbridge Gerry was the Republican candidate for Governor, and Gen. William Heath 
the candidate for Lieutenant-Governor. — Eds. 

1802.] HENRY DEARBORN". 229 

distanced, I should presume will prevent their being run 
again soon. A British Act of Parliament was yesterday 
received, authorising the King to suspend the opperation 
of the Act passed in 1797 establishing what they call 
countervailing duties, in part or in whole, for the term 
of one year ; the unreasonableness of those duties were 
such, that a single reprisentation on our part has pro- 
duced the present Act. And if Congress shall think 
proper to pass the bill proposed in the early part of the 
present session on that subject, the President will un- 
doubtedly be able to make such arrangements with the 
British government as will place our navigation on a 
much better footing than it has been placed in by the 
British treaty ; the British government at no time since 
our revolution has discovered so friendly a disposition 
towards this country as they do at present. It is evident 
that they are at last convinced that such a friendly inter- 
course with this country as will secure a great part of 
our trade is in a considerable degree essential to their 
own existance as a great & powerfull nation. With wise 
& prudent management on our part there is very little 
doubt but we shall be able to enter into such amicable 
stipulations relating to commerce as the fair principles of 
real reciprocity would dictate. So favourable an oppur- 
tunity will not be neglected. No persons in America can 
consider the importance of our navigation and commerce 
in a higher point of view than the President & Secretary 
of State do ; no exertions on their part will be wanting 
for placing it on the most advantageous footing. 

Please, Sir, to tender my most respectfull compliments 
to M r8 Bowdoin, and believe me to be with esteem, 
Your obed* hum 1 serv*. 

H. Dearborn. 

P. S. I shall probably send the papers by Col. Hitch- 
burn or Gen 1 Hull. H. D. 
Hon ble James Bowdoin. 



[April, 1802.] 
The Hon ble Gen l Dearborn. 

D E Sir, — I am to acknowledge y e rec* of y r much 
esteemed favours of y e 10 th & 20 th instant, w ch , owing 
to y e new regulations in y e post office, I rec d within 48 
hours of each other. The events of y e late election here 
& y e measures leading thereto abundantly prove that 
a systemized opposition to M r J.'s administration has 
been agreed upon & will be unrelentingly pursued under 
all y e rancour which the times & circumstances will 
allow; and I hold with you in y e opinion that further 
attempts at a compromise will prove fruitless & will con- 
tinue to be treated with inattention, if not with contempt. 
I am however far from thinking that y e system of mod- 
eration & forbearance ought yet to be relinquished ; not 
for the sake of y e leaders nor their imeadiate coadjutors, 
but in order to lead y e people more effectually to co- 
operate with y e administration ; who, I conceive, are not 
yet sufficiently habituated to y e constitution to draw a 
proper line between y e respect due to the administration 
& y e support of a decent & respectful opposition, w ch 
must be expected, is useful, & ought to be allowed. 
Whether I am placed in a proper situation to see y e mo- 
tives or to judge of the conduct of the opposition I can- 
not say : I hope they mean nothing more than a change 
of men ; and if that is all there is little chance of their 
ultimate success. For however they may agree in an 
opposition to y e present administration, y e party although 
now coalesced is still made up of incoherent parts, which 
will become y e more observable as y e period approaches 
when it shall be required for them to form their govern- 
ment & to satisfy y e interfering claims for office: who 
will be sett up for their President ? shall it be A — ? No : 
more than half their party already disclaim him : shall it 

1802.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 231 

be H — ? no : they say, he is volatile & wants both dignity 
& character : shall it be P — ? no : he is said to want in- 
fluence in the Southern States, is not known in y e North- 
ern, and they strongly suspect his talents.* Conceive then 
forming their administration and agreeing upon their 
men ! — the difficulties to be overcome, the jarring inter- 
ests to be reconciled, the disappointments to be smoth- 
ered ! in short, review their situation and there can be 
little ground for apprehension from their exertions. Had 
I an opinion to give, I sh d say, Let y e present administra- 
tion be true to itself & pursue y e manly, disinterested pol- 
icy which has hitherto marked its progress, regardless of 
newspaper invectives & trusting to public support from 
measures flowing from upright views to y e public welfare ; 
and in my opinion, opposition will be finally obliged to 
hide its head & shrink before an acknowledged superi- 
ority. I have been thus particular & lengthy to shew 
you that altho we have failed in carrying our point in 
this State, that we neither fear nor despond, but like 
good soldiers shall keep y e field, rally our forces & hope 
for victory. 

With respect to y e commercial part of your letter, I 
must confess, I view the proposition of y e British govern- 
ment as little short of an insidious attempt to procure 
another concession in favour of her unjust system of 
commercial regulations. The proposition, unless it goes 
further than what appears by your letter, notwithstand. 
y € suggestions of y e English opposition news papers, w ch I 
consider in no other light than as decoys to allure our 
government into an unadvised measure, ought not to be 
too suddenly met, but on y e contrary to excite doubt & 
distrust of y e contemplated arrangement. The English 
taking off their countervailing duties are in my opinion 

* The three men indicated by initials were John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and 
Charles C. Pinckney. In the election for President in 1804 Mr. Adams was not a can- 
didate; Hamilton had been killed a few months before; and Pinckney received 14 votes 
to 1G2 cast for Jefferson. — Eds. 


of little consequence as they effect y e employment of 
our vessells ; G. Britain has no right to expect to be 
y e carriers of a greater proportion of our produce than 
what she consumes of it, which in y e principal articles of 
tobacco & rice would not employ more than ten thousand 
tons of shipping ; her consumption of tobacco being 
about 11,000 hogsheads annually, & of rice about 16,000 
tierces : and even the shipping thus employed might be 
compelled to be dead freighted upon their voyage out- 
ward to y e United States by taking off y e tonnage duty 
upon American vessells & retaining it upon foreign 
vessells, w ch , if allowable by y e treaty, before the expira- 
tion of two years w d effectually correct y e disadvantages 
of y e countervailing duties. It is by her monopoly of our 
internal trade that she is enabled to make her ports 
y e emporium of our principal productions : viz : of rice, 
tobacco, indigo & lately cotton, w th w ch she has been en- 
abled to supply Europe in time of peace at a cheaper 
rate than we c d ship y e same articles direct in our own 
bottoms. This circumstance has arisen from y e great 
profits of our retail trade, w ch has given to her factors the 
command of our exports, who determine their value and 
by selling y e market price a little above y e cash value, w ch 
they indemnify in y e sale of their European commodities. 


Washington, July 10 th , 1802. 

Dear Sir, — My having been called to some distance 
from this place on public business, and being now about 
seting out again on an other toure, I have been less at 
leisure than usual, which I beg you to acept as an excuse 
for my not writing oftener. Edwards is one of the com- 
missioners according to your wish ; Judge Daws is also 

1802.] HENRY DEARBORN. 233 

one, his appointment resulted from what M r Lincoln & 
myself considered usefull policy. You know what influ- 
ence his father has among the mechanic interest in town, 
and what an effect the noticeing his favourite son may 
have on the father ; unconnected with any political 
motive, I presume that he will be considered as a suitable 
charactor for such an appointment. Sam 1 Brown, Jon a L. 
Austin, Joseph Blake & Sam 1 Allen Otis are the other 
commissioners for Boston. 

Any of your observations, Sir, on any subject will be 
gratefully received, and especially on the subject you 
allude to in your favour of the 12 th ult°. If there are 
any other documents you wish which I can procure, I 
shall with great pleasure attend to any request which 
you may please to make on that score. It would seem 
that your Gov r at last begins to suspect that the ship 
in which he has been imbarked is about going ashore, 
and that he is prepareing to disembark; M r Elsworth of 
Connecticut appears to be taking the same course. I 
have no doubt but they despair of keeping the old ship 
afloat. I suspect that the warm Fed 8 in your quarter are 
at a loss in determining how to treat the Gov r 's late con- 
duct ; pray, Sir, will you be so obliging as to inform me 
what sort of a character the Surveyor of your port, M r . 
Melvil, is, and what, has been his general political con- 
duct. By the papers it appears that no choice has yet 
been made in the lower district in Maine of a representa- 
tive. There appears to have been but very few votes the 
last trial, from which it may be presumed that party 
spirit has subsided, or that the people have run so many 
races as to have got out of breath. The question which 
seems most to interest the public mind, is whether or 
not, the French are to take possession of the Floridas 
and Louisiana; that subject is still enveloped in thick 
darkness, no satisfactory information has yet been ob- 
tained on that subject. It is hoped that if no other 


means could open the eyes of the French government 
that the remarks of Lord Hawksbury in Parlement will 
have the effect ; they must be convinced that the measure, 
if taken with any unfriendly view towards this country, 
must have a direct & strong tendency to produce a con- 
nection between this country & Great Britain which 
would be very formidable to France. She must be senci- 
ble that a close connection between this country & Eng- 
land would ultimately be the most powerf ull combination 
which she can have to fear; but I suspect that Boneparte 
has been for some time past so deeply ingaged in organ- 
izing his scheems of ambition that he has paid but little 
attention to more remote objects. There is reason to 
believe that Great Britain would have no objection to 
recommence the war immediately, if we would ingage 
to oppose the French in taking possession of Louisiana in 
a way that w T ould with certainty involve us in the war. 
There is reason to believe that Le Clerk, Commander in 
Chief at St. Domingo, is useing all the means in his 
power to divert the attention of his government from 
his own misconduct by raising suspicions against our 
government ; he probably calculates upon his connection 
with the first Consul as a powerfull aid in exculpating 
himself & attaching blame to this country. All proper 
means will be used to counteract any improper views he 
may have relative to us. 

Although the spring was backward and we have lately 
had more rain than the farmers wish, yet there was never 
a finer prospect of crops. 

Please to present my most respectfull compliments to 
M r3 Bowdoin, and believe me to be, Sir, with respectfull 

Your hum 1 serv*. 

H. Dearborn. 

Hon bl James Bowdoin. 

1804.] HENRY DEARBORN, 235 


Washington Nov r 13 th , 1804. 

Dear Sir, — I am confident that the Court of Madrid 
will not be as agreable to you as that of London. * I 
hope, however, that you will not decline accepting an 
appointment at the former Court, the offer of which you 
will receive in the course of a few days. The Pres* of 
the U. S. has nominated you this day as minister to the 
Court of Madrid, and I presume there can be no doubt 
of the concurence of the Senate. Your friend George 
W. Erving, now in London, is proposed as Secretary of 
Legation. His emoluments will be small, but it will be 
concidered as an introduction into the diplomatic corps, 
in which situation I think he will in due time make a 
conspicuous figure. It will, I presume, be necessary for 
you to visit the seat of government soon after you shall 
have been officially notified of your appointment, which 
notice you will probably receive in the course of fifteen or 
twenty days after this reaches you & perhaps sooner. 

Please to present my best respects to M rs Bowdoin, & 
believe me to be, with the highest esteem, Sir, 

Your obed* hum 1 serv*. 
Hon- James Bowdoin. H - DEARBORN. 

* Among the Bowdoin and Temple Papers is the rough draught of a letter from Bow- 
doin to Dearborn, dated Dec. 28, 1802, in which he writes: "A particular friend of yours 
has lately been acquainted tbat M r King was likely to be soon recalled ; how far it w d com- 
port with the honor & interest of your friend to be named his successor I submit to your 
consideration." " If it could be done without involving the propriety of your own conduct 
or that of Mr. Jefferson's, permit me to authorize you to mention my name to Pres* J. 
as a successor to Mr. King." Under date of Jan. 9, 1803, Dearborn replied : " The subject 
of your confidential letter had been anticipated. I took the liberty of introducing the sub- 
ject more than two months since, and have had several conferences relative thereto, and with 
such appearance of success that I had expected soon to have been permitted to sound your 
inclinations on the subject, but from recent unforeseen occurrences it becomes necessary to 
have recourse to measures which may produce a temporary derangement of measures 
heretofore contemplated, which you will probably hear more of soon, but unless the cir- 
cumstances above alluded to should materially interfere with the common course of arrange- 
ments relative to foreign relations, I shall have strong hopes of being able to succeed 
in the measures I had contemplated, and you may rest assured, Sir, that nothing is nearer 
my heart than the success above alluded to." Here the matter apparently rested for nearly 
two years. — Eds, 



Washington, March 13 th , 1805. 

Dear Sir, — I should not have delay'd an answer to 
your letter of the 24 th ult° had I not been advised by the 
President, to whoom I shew it, to pospone my answer 
until your reply to M r Madison's letter should arrive. 
Yesterday M r Madison informed me that he had received 
your reply, and also what would be the outlines of his 
answer, altho your journey to this place will be dispensed 
with, unless you can find it convenient to perform it, I 
know it would be by the President & by M r Madison con- 
cidered an unfortunate circumstance that they should not 
have a personal interview with you previous to your de- 
parture for Europe. I will take the liberty of suggesting 
to you a passage from Providence by water, in one of the 
packets of that place ; the accommodations of those pack- 
ets are so good, that in April I should presume a passage 
in that way would be not more unpleasant, expencive, or 
tedious (in point of time) than a journey by land. Hav- 
ing recollected that you will not probably be allowed any 
pay or emolument for a private secretary in addition to 
the pay of the Secretary of Legation, and having on far- 
ther reflection in some measure changed my opinnion as 
to the propriety of my son's # going to Europe, you will 
please to concider my application to you on that subject 
as though it had not been made, and make such arrange- 
ments relating to any other person as will be most agre- 
able to you. My son has not yet compleeted that part of 
his education which relates to his intended pursuit in life, 
on which he must principally depend for a livelihood, viz., 
the practice of the law ; he is now twenty two years of 
age, and I fear that his going to Europe would not only be 
a sacrifice of his time, but might in some degree unfit him 

* Henry A. S. Dearborn. He graduated at William and Mary College in 1803, and 
afterward studied law with Judge Story. — Eds. 

1805.] JAMES MADISON. 237 

for an industrious pursuit of his business after his return. 
He is anxious to go for one or two years, but I hope I 
shall be able to convince him that it will be more for his 
interest to remain at home ; he has a strong passion for 
general information, and is a close student, free from any 
vices, and I fear that a trip to Europe may detach his 
mind from such a close pursuit of that kind of informa- 
tion which will be most essential for a young man who 
must depend on his own industry for making his way 
through life as will be injurious to him. 

Please to present my most respectfull compliments to 
M rs Bowdoin, and accept the tender of my most sincere 
esteem & respect. 

H. Dearborn. 

P. S. If after my son shall have compleeted his edu- 
cation, he should discover a strong desire for visting some 
part of Europe before he sets down to business, I may be 
induced to take the liberty of soliciting your patronage 
for him for a short time. H. D. 

How much longer I shall be obliged to solicit your 
indulgence on the score of the demand you have against 
me, is uncertain ; had I not have been obliged when last 
at Kennebeck to pay upwards of $1700, to avoid two 
tedious lawsuits, which could not have been mannaged 
to advantage in my absence, I had contemplated paying 
the only demand which remained against me. The dis- 
putes above alluded to related to bounderies of land in 
Monmouth. H. D. 

Hon bl James Bowdoin. 


Dep t of State, Washington, Mar. 14, 1805. 

Sir, — Your letter of the 28 th of Feb y has been duly 
received. The continuance of your infirm health is sin- 
cerely regretted on personal as well as on public consid- 


erations ; the latter of which give some importance to a 
visit from you here previous to your departure for Spain. 
The President nevertheless readily acquiesces in dispensing 
with such a visit in case the obstacles to it should not be 
removed ; persuaded that if they should be removed, we 
shall have the pleasure of seeing you about the time inti- 
mated in my last. As soon as the point shall be finally 
decided that it will not be in your power to undertake ?] 
the journey you will oblige me by an intimation of it ; 
and by adding to it the time of your expected departure 
for Spain. There will be an advantage in postponing as 
long as will consist therewith the instructions to be for- 
warded to you, in order to accommodate them to the latest 
state of things transmitted from Madrid. As yet we have 
not heard of the arrival of M r Monroe, nor anything from 
him since he left Rotterdam about the middle of October. 
With my best wishes, I remain, Sir, with great respect 
and consideration, 

Your most obed* serv*. 

James Madison. 

James Bowdoin, Esq*. 


Boston, April 9 th , 1805. 
George W. Erving Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — . . . The fact is I have been ex- 
tremely unwell the whole winter ; so much so that altho 
I expected to have rec d my instructions at Washington, 
yet the President has within a few days, rather than 
accept my resignation, dispensed with my taking a jour- 
ney there. It is owing to this circumstance that I have 
not written to you, altho I have desired M r Winthrop to 
state to you my situation from time to time relative 
to the appointm* & it is only since y e 22 d ult° that my 

* The omitted part of this letter relates to purely domestic matters, and is of no bio- 
graphical or historical interest. — Eds. 

1805.] JAMES BQWDOIN. 239 

acceptance has been finally determined. My health is 
now very indifferent, & was it not that I expect to derive 
benefit from the sea voyage, I sh d at all hazards decline 
the appointment on acc° of my health. I have at length 
concluded to take passage with M rs Bowdoin, my neice,* 
& young George Sullivan, t the son of y e Judge, as my 
private secretary, for S fc Andero in Spain. The ship on 
w ch we shall embark is called y e Baltic commanded by 
Cap* Geo. F. Blunt, & we calculate to sail from hence on 
or before the 10 th of May, certainly as soon as the tenth. 
As I intend taking with me a chariot & coachee I can fur- 
nish you with a place in the latter, to proceed with Sarah 
& M r Geo. Sullivan from S* Andero to Madrid. I hope I 
shall not be disappointed in this arrangement & that you 
will meet me at S* Andero at the time of my arrival there. 
Please to favour me with a few lines from you in case it 
sh d not prove convenient to meet me there. A house- 
keeper, a lady's waiting maid, & a man servant are the 
only serv ts I take from this country ; and I could wish 
that in case you can procure me a cleaver, honest, & intel- 
ligent servant, such a one as you think that I shall want, 
without being too expensive, I sh d be much obliged to 
you. I shall depend upon finding a coachman & foot- 
man at Madrid. I shall be obliged to you also to ascer- 
tain from M r Munroe what will be the best method to 
procure a house, furniture, & other conveniences for 
the reputable establishment of my family at Madrid, & 
whether he c d recommend me to a confidential person to 
advise with upon this subject. I take it for granted that 
you will not omit the fullest enquiries on the subject of our 
mission ; what negociations are concluded or are actually 
pending between the two governments ; what principal 

* Sarah Bowdoin Winthrop, daughter of Hon. Thomas L. Winthrop. She was born 
Jan. 3, 1788, was married to George Sullivan Jan. 26, 1809, and died in 1864. —Eds. 

f Youngest son of Hon. James Sullivan. He was born Feb. 22, 1783, graduated at 
Harvard College in 1801, and died in Pan, France, Dec. 16, 1866. See N. E. Hist, and 
Gen. Reg., vol. xix. p. 305; Boston Rec. Com. Rep., vol. xxx. p. 270. — Eds. 


characters at Madrid are friendly or hostile to our nego- 
ciations ; and particularly what line of conduct ought to 
be generally observed or specially pursued by the Ameri- 
can minister to forward the interests of y e United States. 
I w T ish you also to ascertain the best mercantile houses or 
bankers at Madrid in whose hands may be deposited in 
safety any monies we may not have an immediate use for. 
My instructions & dispatches I have not yet rec d ; what 
letters of introduction will accompany them I know not. 
By my hist letters from M r Madison, governm* had not 
heard from M r Munroe since Oct last, when he w r as in 
Holland ; so that I expect my instructions will very much 
depend upon what has been effected by his special mission. 
As people here seem to have no acquaintances at Madrid, 
I think it will be necessary for you to procure letters of 
introduction for yourself at least to some principal persons 
there : for my own part I expect but few letters, & I am 
apprehensive that those will be to persons of little conse- 
quence. Being much oppressed with business, I must con- 
clude with repeating to you that I shall expect to see you 
at S* Andero upon my arrival there, if you can conven- 
iently do it. Give my best respects to your father, & 
acquaint him that it will give me the greatest pleasure to 
see him at Madrid, sh d he think of taking a journey there. 
M rs B. & Sarah desire to be remembered to you. 

Believe me always very sincerely yours, &c a . 

James Bowdoin. 


Washington, Apr. 27, 05. 

Dear Sir, — Your favor of Mar. 25 has been duly 
recieved. I regret that the state of your health renders 
a visit to this place unadvisable. Besides the gratifica- 
tion we should have felt from personal considerations, the 
perusal of the correspondences for some time back with 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERVING. 241 

the governments of Europe most interesting to us, by 
putting you in possession of the actual state of things 
between us, would have enabled you to act under all 
emergencies with that satisfaction to yourself which is 
derived from a full knolege of the ground ; but I presume 
you will find this supplied as to the government to which 
you go by the papers of the office at Madrid. Our rela- 
tions with that nation are vitally interesting. That they 
should be of a peaceable & friendly character has been 
our most earnest desire. Had Spain met us with the 
same dispositions, our idea was that her existence in this 
hemisphere & ours should have rested on the same 
bottom ; should have swam or sunk together. We want 
nothing of hers : & we want no other nation to possess 
what is hers ; but she has met our advances with jealousy, 
secret malice, and ill faith. Our patience under this 
unworthy return of disposition is now on its last trial : & 
the issue of what is now depending between us will de- 
cide whether our relations with her are to be sincerely 
friendly, or permanently hostile. I still wish & would 
cherish the former; but have ceased to expect it. 

I thank you for the sentiments of esteem you are so 
good as to express towards me, and the mark of it you 
wish me to place at Monticello. It shall be deposited 
with the memorials of those worthies whose remembrance 
I feel a pride & comfort in consecrating there. With 
my best wishes for the restoration of your health & for a 
pleasant voyage, I tender you my friendly salutations & 
assurances of great esteem & respect. 

Th: Jefferson. 

James Bowdoin, Esq. 


Rotterdam, Sunday Night, Sep. 8, 1805. 

My dear Sir, — I arrived here at six o'clock this 
morning, & to-morrow propose to pursue my rout by way 



of Breda. The vessel in which I took my passage (the 
address of the brokers, &c, is inclosed) will return in 
about three weeks & may probably lay at Gravesend a 
fortnight ; she is about 80 tons & I think well suited to 
your purpose ; her accommodations are very good & the 
captain a steady, active man, & what is very important, 
conscientiously sober ; his rule not to drink on board is 
so strictly observed that even whilst we were at anchor- 
age at Maislandsleys in this river & out of the reach of 
any possible danger, and tho he had been up all the pre- 
ceeding night & was entirely wet thro, he refused to 
take a single glass of wine. I cannot promise M rs 
Bowdoin that he will not smoke, but we were not at all 
annoyed by his pipe ; indeed he seems more addicted to 
what he calls eating (chewing) tobacco, in which way he 
certainly did not consume less during the passage than 
one pound. Upon the whole I can very safely recom- 
mend him to you ; he will ask forty guineas, but probably 
take 30 or 35. You should have a written agreement 
with him upon this subject, he shoud covenant to start at 
a certain precise time, & not to take any other pas- 
sengers; without this last proviso he will undoubtedly 
smuggle as many as he can upon j^ou. In coining from 
London it will be well in addition to the ordinary pass- 
ports to furnish yourself with an order from the alien 
office directing that your baggage may pass without inter- 
ruption, without this you will be subject to an extremely 
vexatious search when on board. But as it may not be in 
rule to grant such an order from the alien office, in such 
case, previous to your leaving Gravesend, state to alien 
officer there your situation & that you expect him to order 
the officers on board not to examine your baggage ; he is 
very obliging & complaisant, & will doubtless do every 
thing which you may desire upon the subject. There is 
no great choice of taverns at Gravesend, but upon the 
whole the " White Hart " is the best, & it is the more 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERVING. 243 

convenient as the alien office is kept there. On arriv- 
ing at Maislandsleys all vessels must come to anchor ; 
you will be there first visited by an officer from a cutter 
who will take down your name, &c, & give you no trouble, 
as he is a very obliging young man ; tho he is a com- 
missioned officer yet he will expect a small fee. I gave 
him a guilder ; for your family about five guilders will be 
sufficient, which you need not hesitate to put in his hand ; 
his boat's crew will expect two or three schellings for 
" drink money." You will be then visted by the com- 
mandant from the shore, who is a lieutenant in the 
Dutch service ; he also takes down particulars & receives 
your passport ; no fee is to be given to him ; it is his 
duty to leave a soldier on board, to write to the general 
at Rotterdam, & to transmit your passport. The regula- 
tion forbids any passengers landing except at Rotterdam, 
yet I obtained permission from this officer on account of 
Miss Lowell's ill health for that family to be landed ; if 
the time of day, the weather, & wind are favorable it is 
much more convenient to continue on board the vessel & 
come up to Rotterdam, otherwise I think that you will 
be able to obtain permission to go on shore at Mais- 
landslys ; we were detained much longer there than 
usual by a coincidence of unlucky circumstances, yet 
after all I arrived here before M r Lowell. I have how- 
ever provided against the contingency of your wishing to 
land at Mais Slys, & M r Alexander, who is extremely 
obliging & attentive, will be able to procure an order to 
the commandant to that effect. I recollect nothing 
further which it may be useful to mention ; when here 
put up at the Marshal Turenne. You have nothing to 
apprehend from the small size of the packet, she is a 
very fine vessel, & her drawing only five foot of water is 
a very great advantage on this coast, from which the 
shoals extend a great way, & more particularly as the 
greater part of the buoys are taken up. Present me 


respectfully to M rs Bowdoin, to Miss Sarah, & M r 

My dear Sir, very faithy. & truly your ob* s*. 

George W. Erving. 

P. S. M r Alexander recommends the Orion, Cap* Stoef- 
fets, as the best vessel, but says that they are all equally 
good ; whichever you determine upon however it will be 
better to write to M r Alexander by the packet preceed- 
ing it, informing him of the name of the vessel by which 
you intend to come, this he seems to consider as essential 
to enable him to procure the permission referred to. 

G. W. E. 

It will be better to bring a basket of provisions with 
yon from London than to lay in at Gravesend for the 


Paris, Sep. 17, 1805. 
His Excellency James Bowdoin, &c. 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you from Rotterdam some 
hints as to the passage over, & I hope that when this 
finds you there that you will have had a pleasant one, 
& be in good health & spirits to pursue the journey. 
In pursuance of your wish I will go on with such ob- 
servations as may be useful on the rout hither. If you 
shoud be disposed to make a short tour in Holland (which 
as two or three days will be sufficient, if the weather is 
fine you may find agreeable,) you can go from the Hague 
to Amsterdam, & not return to Rotterdam, in which case 
I think that you will have a better road to Antwerp & 
avoid what is most disagreeable, two or three ferries. 
But even if you shoud proceed immediately from Rot- 
terdam (& the weather shoud not happen to be of the 
very best kind) I shoud recommend that you go consid- 
erably out of your way & cross the Rhine at Gorcum, 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERVING. 245 

rather than go over to the Moordyck, the least excep- 
tionable of the direct routs from Rotterdam. At Rotter- 
dam put up at the Marshall Turenne ; M r Alexander, 
our vice consul there, will take great pleasure in mak- 
ing all the necessary arrangements in procuring car- 
riages & otherwise for your journey. My rout from 
Rotterdam was over Islemonde & the Moordyck, the 
passage at the Moordyck is, as I suppose, about three 
miles over ; the boats (as indeed they are every where 
in Holland) extremely well accommodated to the purpose ; 
nevertheless if it rains or if there is much wind that 
voyage must be very disagreeable, especially for ladies. 
I fortunately found it otherwise : the roads through all 
the low provinces of Holland are deep & sandy, tho the 
dykes over which you pass are in some places paved with 
brick. It is not uncommon to make the journey from 
Rotterdam to Antwerp in a day, yet it is rather too fa- 
tigueing & as you are not pressed for time, I woud recom- 
mend your dividing it ; if you go to Gorcum, that will be 
a good place to stop at ; otherwise at Breda, where you 
will find an excellent tavern, " The Prince Cardinal," 
which is kept by a very intelligent & obliging man who 
speaks good English. From Breda to Antwerp for the 
greater part of the rout the road is heavy, but as the dis- 
tance is only 30 miles you may make an easy day's jour- 
ney of it; at fifteen miles from Breda you enter on "the 
French frontier, & there a custom house is established to 
examine your baggage ; on shewing my passport there 
which was not however demanded I was treated with 
great civility, one or two packages only were merely 
opened, in fact no examination was made ; but I un- 
derstand that the search is generally made with great 
rigor, & even clothes for one's own use if new may be 
taken; but to avoid any difficulty of that sort I think 
it will be necessary only that the officer should under- 
stand your situation ; I gave him 3 guilders for his civ- 


ility ; considering the quantity of your baggage it may 
be well to give him 5 or 6. When you arrive at Ant- 
werp your passport is demanded & you are directed to 
call for it at the bureau of police, it will not be necessary 
for you to go there in person, but M r Sullivan shoud go 
& from thence take it to M r Ridgway our consul who 
will endorse it; it is then returned to the bureau & a 
French passport is given to enable you to go to Paris. 
The passport which you deliver at the gate of Antwerp 
is retained by the bureau, & sent on to Paris ; therefore 
it would be better to furnish yourself with one from M r 
Alexander for that purpose than to deliver up M r Mon- 
roe's. At Antwerp put up at the " Grand Labourer," 
which is a good house & the master of which will be 
able to furnish you with proper carriages to proceed to 
Paris. I hired of him a cabriolet for 4 louis: but if you 
should not find there carriages quite suitable, take them 
only for Brussels, which is a short distance & where you 
may more certainly be accommodated with every thing 
you want. I did not stay at Antwerp, but the dock 
yards there are an object of great interest & curiosity 
which you woud desire to see & for which a permission 
may be obtained without difficulty. It would be as well 
to bring from Rotterdam as much Dutch money as will 
pay your way to Antwerp only ; there French currency 
commences. I did not stay at Brussells only to change 
horses ; but you will be desirous of seeing the city, 
which is well worth a day's delay. The " Belle Vue " 
is said to be the best house. Between Brussels & Paris 
there are not many good places to stop at. I took the 
rout of Valenciennes, which was recommended as the 
best, & slept at Mons at the " Couronne," which is a 
good house; from thence I did not stop any where but 
travelled all night. The "Soleil d'Or" at Roye, if you 
can reach so far, they say is a tolerable resting place, 
but as to this part of the journey I cannot give you 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERVING. 247 

so much information as I wish, & must therefore depend 
upon your finding accommodation from the enquiries 
which you will make on y e road. I do not doubt that 
you will be able to divide the remaining distance com- 
fortably. At Paris I recommend you to the house where 
I am, the " Hotel d'Etrangers," Rue Concord; the apart- 
ments excellent, the situation the best in Paris, & the 
air also, as it is near the river, the Champ d'Elysee, & 
the great place of the Revolution, much better than in 
any other situation ; it is also a quiet house, & has no 
exceptionable persons in it; — the landlord is a reason- 
able & obliging man; if his house should be full go to 
the Hotel in the Place Vendome or to the " Grange 
Bataillere" but avoid by all means the Hotel u De V Em- 
pire " & the Hotel " De 1' Europe,'' for which I can 
give you the best reasons ; I am more particular in this 
hint because those houses are most likely to be recom- 
mended to you. I think that you may be almost sure of 
finding apartments where I am, & I will endeavour (if 
I can without subjecting you to any additional expence) 
to make some arrangement with the landlord which will 
secure them ; he will be able also to furnish your table in 
the best manner, tho upon this point great caution is 
necessary to prevent extortion, for if you order a din- 
ner for your family he will furnish it at his own price; 
but an excellent dinner may be had at three or four 
livres per head & such an agreement should be made 
with him. I desired M r Alexander to write to you from 
Rotterdam relative to the arrangements which he should 
make for your reception there ; an order from the Gen- 
eral will be obtained so that with your baggage you may 
land immediately & without difficulty. I omitted to men- 
tion in my letter from Rotterdam any thing respecting 
monies, & therefore lest you may meet with any difficul- 
ties on that score, & as you woud not perhaps chuse to 
require any thing in that way from M r Alexander, I here- 


with inclose a letter to my friend M r Dixon, who will, I am 
persuaded, be very happy to render you all possible facil- 
ities. Present me respectfully to M rs Bowdoin & to Miss 
Sarah & M r Sullivan. Believing me, my dear Sir, always 
with much respect & attachment very truly yours. 

George W. Erving. 

M r Monroe will have communicated to you before you 
left London what I write to him from this place on the 
subjects relative to which we consulted previous to my 
departure, & therefore I omit to say any thing further at 
present. I shall write to you fully from Madrid. 

G. W. E. 

The Dutch coachmen who will drive you to Antwerp 
will expect about a florin for 15 miles. At Antwerp it 
will be well to get the new post book for the French 
roads ; the regulations are so perfectly good & now so 
exactly observed, that there is not the least apprehen- 
sion of imposition or of insolence as formerly from the 
postillions. The pay to a French postillion is ordi- 
narily thirty sous per post ; that is, the same pay as 
for a horse ; some travellers give forty ; but if you 
were even to give fifty, they will always ask for more; 
30 sous is ample, being 50 per cent more than an Eng- 
lish postillion gets in a country where living is a hun- 
dred per cent dearer. I paid 30 sous all the way to 
Paris except for four or five posts during the night, 
when I gave forty; but they universally begged for two 
or three sous more " pour boire " & in some cases I gave 
that trifle to get rid of their importunities; but as you 
will see by the post book they dare not abuse you now as 
they woud have done formerly, even if you were to pay 
only the regulation. At the taverns 24 sous for the 
waiter is enough ; chambermaids expect nothing be- 
cause you pay high for your beds; at Antwerp how- 
ever the chambermaid asks, & then perhaps it may be 
well to give a f[lorin] for your family. q. ^ g 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 249 


London, Oct 4 th , 1805. 
Major Gen l Dearborn. 

My dear Sir, — I had the pleasure of writing to you 
on the 7 th ult°, & sh d not have so soon written again, was 
it not for the peculiar situation in which our political af- 
fairs stand with this governing I stated to you in that 
letter what I conceived would be y e conduct of this gov- 
ernra* in the event of a successful war against France by 
the continental coalition ; that upon such an event, the 
United States might expect an attempt to recover the do- 
minion of y e States, or at least a maritime war for the 
destruction of their navigation & commerce ; but in case 
of its ill success, or of achieving nothing of importance, 
that she would adopt a temporizing policy & w d pursue in 
y e mean time a predatory system upon our commerce 
as far as the governm* & people of y e U. S. were dis- 
posed to suffer it. It is to enforce this opinion that I 
now write to you, & that you may be persuaded of an 
important truth that this governm* is not friendly to y e 
U. S. ; that it is jealous of y e extent of our commerce & 
growing power & is coveredly pursuing the most dishon- 
ourable conduct to reduce our navigation & commerce. 
That our minister here is treated with neglect & his repre- 
sentations taken little or no notice of, w ch is evident from 
his late note, w ch ably exposes the injustice of the conduct 
& y e unsoundness of the principles on w ch our vessells have 
been lately detained & condemned, having produced no 
answer although transmitted a fortnight since. That this 
conduct must require spirited and decisive measures from 
our governm* is most certain ; such as should assert our 
neutral rights & our determination to maintain them. 
But how far it would be prudent for the U. S. to bring 
forward the principle of free ships making free goods at 
this time is a matter of doubt. Upon this subject we 


ought like other nations to pursue our present interest, & 
were we to set up the principle at this time it is my opin- 
ion this gov 1 would no longer permit our neutrality, but 
w d force us into y e war. On the other hand, not to insist 
upon the concessions she made to Russia & y e northern 
powers, and not to vindicate our neutral rights, as laid 
down in y e old law of nations, would neither induce the 
respect of this nor the other belligerent nations ; and 
must in the end produce an indiscriminate plunder of our 
commerce from all the belligerents. It is under these 
impressions that I have written to my relation M r Win- 
throp, grounded upon the event of the detention & con- 
demnation (to a large amount) of property belonging to 
my neighbour David Sears Esq r : I thot it a good oppor- 
tunity to state to M r Winthrop & thro him to the merch ts 
in Boston some facts relative to the conduct of this gov*, 
on w cb to predicate a measure w ch I believe w d have a good 
effect, & very much aid M r Monroe's representations to if 
not negociations with this government. It is with this 
view that I have written y e letter, & enclosed it to you 
open, that if it is thot adviseable that the merch t8 sh d adopt 
the measure therein proposed, it may be backed by let- 
ters to the same effect from persons friendly to y e gov 1 at 
Washington to the merch ts in different parts of y e U. S. ; 
but if the letter to M r W. or the measure it recommends 
on the facts stated sh d not be thot well of by you or by 
the friends of y e administration, you have my liberty, & 
I shall be much obliged to you, to destroy it. But sh d you 
approve the proposed measure, I shall be obliged to you 
to seal & transmit the letter by the first opportunity. 

I expect to set out for Paris y e beginning of next week, 
having waited here for a passport longer than I expected. 
Make my most respectful regards to the President & to 
M r Madison, & believe me, with much esteem, d r Sir, 
Your most obed* serv\ 

James Bowdoin. 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERVING. 251 


Bayonne, Oct. 9, 1805. 
To his Excellency James Bowdoin. 

My dear Sir, — When I was on the point of leaving 
Paris I had the pleasure to receive your letter from Lon- 
don respecting a passport enabling you to land at Calais. 
Having no connection with the French authorities I'coud 
not promote the object by my personal application to 
them, but immediately waited upon Gen 1 Armstrong, who 
assured me that he woud do every thing possible to ob- 
tain the permission desired ; & he did not doubt as the 
motive for the strict prohibition which has hitherto sub- 
sisted does not now exist that he should succeed in his 
application. I hope therefore that this will find you in 
Paris & perfectly restored to health. I wrote to you a 
long letter from Paris which I forwarded to Rotterdam & 
desired' M r Alexander to keep till your arrival there, but 
have since advised him that you did not intend to pass 
thro' Holland, & it will therefore have been forwarded to 
you in London. Having been detained in Paris some 
days longer than it was my intention to stay, & having 
rested at Bourdeaux three days for the purpose of giving 
time to M r Lannes, the agent of M r Lee at this place, to 
prepare the necessary means of conveying me to Madrid, 
I did not reach Bayonne till yesterday ; and here I am 
obliged to submit to a farther delay of three days on ac- 
count of the great demand for & the scarcity of carriages. 
None of those belonging to the town are now here & 
travellers are obliged to wait for those which may acci- 
dentally arrive from Madrid. My landlord (at the Hotel 
de S' : Eutienne) is advised of one which will be here the 
day after to-morrow, that I am to have, so that in about 
fourteen days I hope to be at Madrid. I have written to- 
day to M r Pinkney, & have also written to Consul O'Brien 


& transmitted M rs Bowdoin's letters to the ladies of his 
family, & M r Sullivan's letter to M r Dickenson. To guard 
against the delays which I have been exposed to, it woud 
be better for you to write to M r Lee from Paris desiring 
him to direct his agent to procure carriages by a certain 
given day when you can calculate upon arriving at Bay- 
onne. You must not bring your own carriages, for there 
are no means of conveying private carriages from this to 
Madrid ; it woud be better to hire your carriages at Paris 
for the whole rout to Bayonne rather than for Bourdeaux 
as you will get them at a more reasonable rate ; but if you 
shoud not find it easy to make that arrangement, good 
carriages may easily be had at Bourdeaux ; I gave 7 louis 
for my cabriolet to Bourdeaux & 2i louis for another to 
this place, but that from Paris was charged too high 
owing to the great demand at that time for carriages of 
every description to go to Strasbourg. The best road to 
Bourdeaux & by far the pleasantest lays thro Orleans, 
Blois, Tours, Poiters, & Anguilomme. As far as Orleans 
it is not bad & from thence to Bourdeaux (at least in 
this season) the greater part is excellent, & you will be 
gratified in finding that nearly the whole is unpaved ; 
between Orleans & Bourdeaux you will not probably pass 
more than 30 miles of pavement. The inns & accom- 
modations every where are comfortable, the horses unex- 
ceptionable & the postillions much better than in the 
north of France. You will probably travel more leisurely 
than I did, (sometimes I have been 14 & sometimes 20 
posts per day) & therefore you will not stop at the same 
places ; & I am not certain that in the places I did 
stop at that I went to the best taverns ; however, you 
cannot fail in this particular to meet with good ac- 
commodations by enquiring of the persons who keep 
the barriers (& not of the post boys) who are all re- 
spectable citizens, for the best hotel in the places you 
propose to rest at. By leaving Paris early in the morn- 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERYING. 253 

ing you will be able to reach Orleans, & there probably 
you will be induced to pass a day. I was recommended 
to the " Three Emperors/' certainly not an imperial hotel, 
& I should think that such a place as Orleans may 
furnish a better. I cannot give any particular recom- 
mendation of that. If you rest a day at Orleans, you will 
be able to reach Tours from thence in one day, tho as the 
road is most delightful on the banks of the Loire, you 
may probably stop at Blois, which I did not. As to the 
" Ball d'Or " at Tours, I can say the same only as of the 
" Three Emperors," if this is the best inn, it is a pity 
they had not a better. Poiters is an old town which has 
nothing but a fine situation to recommend it; Angui- 
lomme I did not enter, but it is worth a day's delay as I 
am told. At Bourdeaux you will stay a day at least. 
M r Lee, who is extremely hospitable & attentive, insisted 
upon my going to his house ; if he does not do so with 
you it will be because it is impossible for him to accom- 
modate a family. I recommend therefore the " Hotel 
Furnel." From Bourdeaux, instead of taking the road to 
this place thro Montmarsan, which is very bad, I went 
thirty miles about for the sake of one not quite so bad thro 
Pau ; if you go to Pau I recommend the " Three Can- 
tons." I proposed this further advantage in going to 
Pau, that of obtaining the best view of the Pyrennes & 
the " Pique de Midi " & from thence having a ride on the 
banks of y e Dave similar to that which I found on the 
Loire ; in the first object I was fully gratified, but in 
the other wholly disappointed : yet from all I can learn of 
the Mont-Marsan road that thro' Pau is much preferrable. 
I was extremely tempted to go as far as Banniers, which 
is only half a days ride from Pau, & is described to be 
one of the cleanest & best, as well as the finest situated 
towns in France, but I thought that to throw away two 
days upon an object of mere gratification could not be 
justified, so I pursued my rout to this place. 


Present me respectfully to M rs Bowdoin & believe me, 
my dear Sir, with sincere respect & regard 
Very faity. your o* s*. 

George W. Erving. 

You will not, I presume, be without a post book, which 
is absolutely necessary on y e road ; & as there have been 
some late alterations in the laws, you will procure that 
which is printed in the year 14. 


Paris, Nov. 3<*, 1805. 
G. W. Erving, Esq. 

My dear Sir, — I with pleasure acquaint you of my 
safe arrival here in good health the .night before last, 
after much disappointment, fatigue & vexation from an 
eight days voyage from Engl d to Kotterdam, & from a 
fatiguing journey by land, which seemed like running a 
gauntlet among thieves from the number of abuses w ch oc- 
curred upon the road. We are at length here, & I have 
seen our minister & have had some conversation with him 
upon the subject of our affairs, but it has not been so 
satisfactory as I c d wish. I expect to see him again to- 
morrow, and shall endeavour to penetrate into y e actual 
state of our affairs as far as I shall be able thro him 
and other channels w ch may be found here ; I shall how- 
ever do it with all scrupulous delicacy, having reference 
to the situation & character of the resident minister. I 
shall write to you again in a day or two, & will be as 
particular as prudence will allow. I understand that 
dispatches have gone on to Madrid dated on y e 17 th of 
June last, the proposition they contain I have become 
acquainted with, altho I have not yet read the dispatch, 
w ch is in cyphers & will be communicated to me probably 
to-morrow : let me know your opinion of it, & whether it 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 255 

will be worth while to suggest it to y e Spanish gov*. I have 
not yet made up my mind in respect to continuing here, 

altho it was M r M 's opinion I had best continue here 

untill I sh d hear from the gov* or sh d receive its further 
instructions. I shall be governed untill that event by 
what I shall find is likely to be obtained from continuing 
here. I believe, that something might be done if A 
should be found to be fully disposed to use his best 
endeavours to co-operate with me here ; but of this I 
shall write you more fully in my next. At present I am 
to acquaint you that I left your father well on the 14 th 
lilt , altho he had had a slight indisposition from spit- 
ting of blood for a day or two w ch had subsided & had left 
him much better than he had been even before. Our 
friend M r Munroe & also his family were well; he had 
presented his long note w ch I believe you saw & it had 
produced no answer ; and -he has since written a short 
one intimating his having leave to return home, w ch he 
had thots of doing this fall if an opp ty offered, & y e objects 
of his several notes were satisfactorily fullfilled. The last 
note had been presented two days before I left Engl d & 
had produced no answer. When at Antwerp on my 
journey here M r Ridgeway acquainted me he had rec d 
acc ts of ten of our vessells being carried in since I had 
left Engl d , altho when I left it, there appeared to be a 
disposition to recede from the high ground w ch had been 
taken & to revert to the principles established before the 
late injurious decisions. I think it probable however that 
the late successes of y e French will prove a better argu- 
ment in favour of our neutral rights than any that c d be 
suggested at this time by our minister. M r Pitt stands 
on slippery ground, & when heavy subsidies are known 
to be flung away upon defeated armies of an unpromising 
coalition it is not improbable he may be again induced to 
retire, to give an opportunity to some Addington or other 
to make another disgraceful peace. Things however dont 


look so prosperous here as I expected. I have written this 
letter in haste & without taking a copy of it, w ch I shall 
continue to do while I stay here in order to write to you 
the of tener & to acquaint you with circumstances as they 
may occur, expecting that when I meet you that I may 
see them destroyed. Believe me upon the present & all 

Very sincerely yours. 

James Bowdoin. 

Write to me here a l'Hotel de la Grange Bataliere. 
My family all desire to be remembered to you. 



Nov' 19 th , 1805. 
His Excellency James Bowdoin. 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you a letter of five sheets 
on the 29 th ult°, containing such information & sugges- 
tions as I thought might be useful on your journey 
hither. I have now the satisfaction to receive yours of 
the 3 d ins* from Paris. By this I am sorry to observe 
that my former letters, viz., those of Sep. 8 from Kotter- 
dam & of Oct. 9 th from Bayonne have not reached 
you. The latter was sent to Paris, under cover to Gen 1 
Armstrong. My last (of 29 th ult°) inclosed several letters 
from Boston for you & some for M r Sullivan. I have not 
been able to keep copies of the letters referred to, yet if 
you shoud not finally receive them previous to your 
leaving Paris I shall again endeavour to collect from my 
memoranda whatever may be of service to you on your 
route to Madrid. 

* The passages in this letter which are in figures were deciphered by Mr. Bowdoin, who 
wrote the transliteration over the figures. In printing the letter we have placed the trans- 
literation in brackets immediately after the corresponding figures. — Eds. 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERVING. 257 

With respect to the communications which you refer 
to, my experience concurs entirely with yours. It is so 
delicate a subject that I coud not before, nor can I now, 
enlarge upon it. The apprehension also may be un- 
founded, yet I have been so well convinced on this point, 
& so apprehensive that the public interests might be 
prejudiced by such unworthy motives, that I have very 
candidly opened my mind to M r Monroe. My letters and. 
the notes from my commonplace book I shall have an 
opportunity of shewing yo*u by & by. I am sorry to see 
that the conclusions which I drew from my own observa- 
tions are so much confirmed by yours. Nor can I be (as 
I have told M r Monroe) at all of the opinion upon which 
this management pretends to be grounded. There are 
the strongest reasons why this shoud be the theatre. I 
have, & shall still continue to conduct myself accordingly. 

I have found the important letter from M r M. of 
May 23 d referred to in my last, but am without the 
means of unlocking it. M r P. has either carried off or 
mislaid the cypher ! I have not yet heard from him in 
answer to the letter which I wrote upon the subject, & a 
letter which M r Young also has written remains as to this 
point unanswered. General A. must therefore decypher 
it for you, & you can send it to me in * M r Monroe's 

You mention that dispatches of June 17 th have come 
hither, but I have not received them or any other from our 
government. If they arrive probably all that is most 
important will be in M r Pinckney's cypher. I beg you 
therefore to send me a copy of the letter putting yours 
to me under cover to Mess rs Patrick Joyes & Son, 

I shall as you desire preserve your letters & deliver 
them over to you again, & hope that you will make me 
full & frequent communications. 

* General Armstrong's in the original text of v e letter. 


You will best determine as to the time of leaving Paris, 
but my opinion certainly concurs with M r Monroe's, & in 
the presumption that this line of conduct was fixed, I 
have given it to be understood that you will not move 
'till directed expressly to do so. You see therefore that 
a great effect, & probably a prejudicial one, woud be 
produced by your coming hither at this time; but you 
will determine how far it may be prejudicial, and also 
what course our government will expect from you in 
consequence of what you & M r Monroe have written. I 
still find that the considerations on which that policy was 
founded were just, & in the same view have mentioned 
in proper places that even my own residence is but from 
day to day. 

I fear in fact that the British aggressions do still 
continue. You will conclude that the result of the late 
meeting of the combined fleets is not likely to lessen the 
evil. M r M's part is a delicate one, but I sincerely hope 
& believe that he will not move from his station. I 
have lately written to him at large & transmitted a docu- 
ment with some information which may possibly be use- 
ful. I inclose herewith a copy of the paper referred 
to; you will at once see its object & calculate whether it 
will produce any thing. It may be well otherwise not to 
communicate it. It has not yet been answered & probably 
will not be. I will not fail to transmit the result to you 
& to M r M. 

I shall write to you fully on every thing which may 
appear important or which you may be desired to be 
informed of. 

My dear Sir, with sincere respect & regard, very fai ty , 

•^ * George W. Erving. 

The two inclosed letters from Boston I have received 
to-day. Present me very kindly & respectfully to M" 
Bowdoin, to Miss Sarah, & to M r Sullivan. The last 

1805.] GEORGE W. ERVING. 259 

mentioned not least in my consideration. I congratulate 
you most cordially in the restoration of your health, of 
which I was informed by a letter from my father of 
Sep. 17. 

Postscript. Nov. 19 th , 1805. At night. Private. 
My dear Sir, — Since writing the inclosed I have 
received yours of Nov r 6 th in M r Monroe's cypher (which 
I am glad to find that you have). I do not observe any 
thing in this which alters my opinion upon the point re- 
ferred to in the first & second page of the foregoing. 
The same language, it appears, is held to you as 'I heard 
myself. I need not tell you that you will be assailed by 
spies as well as by all those who have personal views to 
promote. I differ altogether with 686. 382. 1595 [Arm- 
strong] & remain firmly in the belief that 184 [his] nego- 
tiations upon the subject are not essential ; but a shorter 
& much more effectual way than any referred to of set- 
tling these difficulties is that, which as it appears by the 
extract inclosed in yours (& which I put full faith in), 
our government is about to take pursuant to the repre- 
sentations made by M r M. With what success or to what 
advantage can we expect to negotiate with 1308. 501. 
430 [baseness] and 675. 699. 584 [apathy] on one side & 
the most 1307. 501. 304. 520. 1046. 947. 1433 [barefaced 
corruption] on both. I shall not hesitate therefore can- 
didly & freely to give you my opinion that absolutely 
nothing shoud be attempted. I woud not even open 
my lips upon the subject 'till the orders of the govern- 
ment arrive. They ought here & there distinctly to 
understand that our government has done every thing 
possible to effect an accommodation, & that if they do 
not change their policy in time to arrest the blow which 
impends, theirs will be the fault, not ours. That as to 
money in any shape or to any extent, it is not to be 
thought of, that we must have more consideration for our 
own honor than for their wants, that we must, in fine, 


act a part becoming the dignity & independence of our 
country, & fulfil the expectations of the whole world by 
dissipating the illusions which these people have formed to 
themselves, that our pacifick system can never be changed 
by any outrages however violent or by any insults how- 
ever offensive. Previous to M r Pinckney's departure he 
did every thing possible to have the convention ratified, 
but without effect. As mentioned in my letter of the 29 th 
ult°, nothing has been done, or is it to be expected that 
any thing will be done 792. 1399. 1229. 637 [by this 
government]. A 1342. 496. 161. 262. be 382. 1032 
[blow must be struck] which will 680. 937. 501. [arouse] 
it from its 699. 1252. 1241 [lethargy] & convince 992. 
1384. 1164 [France that we] are no 888. 1300. 569. 1310. 
756. 963. 801 [longer to be trifled with] with before we 
shall be able to 426. 501. 1190. 674. 219. 1302. 1335. 
1140. 653. 1576 [negotiate with any probability of] suc- 
cess. I can give you no adequate idea of 1399. 1229. 
637 [this government] the most absolute 384. 1085. 467. 
546 [subservience] is here added to an 1418. 357. 673 
[ignorant] and 208. 1158. 1300. 937. 213. 809 [prepos- 
terous pride] which still hangs about 1386. 1362. 1361. 
1379. 520. 1231. 401. 809. 490 [their tattered grandeur]. 
1393 [They] have no 264. 1067. 636. 352. 1102. 756. 
922. d. 352. 982. 352. 148 [statesmen, no force, no 

In reply therefore to the postscript of your letter, in 
conformity to what I have before said, I can only answer 
that my own opinion is decidedly in favor of your staying 
in France. As to a winter's journey from Bayonne hither, 
I see no reason to apprehend any thing, if it shoud be 
necessary for you to set off in the winter. The winters 
here are moderate, not tearing up the roads with frost & 
wet as in our country. The road as far as Burgos, how- 
ever, coud not be injured by any winter; it is for the dis- 
tance probably as fine a road as any in Europe ; & from 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 261 

Burgos thro' Valladolid (which rout I did not go) I am 
told that it is equally good. You will be one or two days 
longer in coming; at that season on account of the short- 
ness of the days only ; but if you will go to the expence 
of having relays of mules placed on the road, which is 
eometimes done, you may get from Bayonne in five days. 
The relays must be had here, as I believe that the ex- 
pence will be about 3 times greater than in the ordinary 
mode. This you can consider of. My last contains par- 
ticular information respecting every other circumstance 
relating to this journey. I do not think that it will be 
necessary for you to bring any furniture with you from 
f*aris, in addition to what you have at S* Ander. The 
houses here are not very elegantly furnished, & the cost 
of importing furniture will be immense. I am told that 
iron utensils for the use of the kitchen are not to be had 
here, but those if you chuse to have them can certainly be 
procured at Bourdeaux. 

I am, my dear Sir, with sincere respect & regard, 

Yours fai ty . 

G. W. E. 


Paris, Nov. 28, 1805. 
G. W. Erving, Esq e . 

My dear Sir, — I have written to you two letters 
from this city, the last of y e 6 th ins*, under cover to Snres. 
Filipi Viol Ravara y Hijo, to whose address I shall cover 
this. I have not yet heard of your safe arrival at Madrid^ 
hope no accident has happened to you, and that you have 
had an agreable journey, been introduced to y e gov*, & 
found every thing refering to your reception quite agre- 

* Numerous passages in Bowdoin's letters to Erving are in cipher. Usually these pas- 
sages were deciphered by Erving, and the words for which figures were substituted were 
written over the figures. In printing these passages we have inserted the words in brackets 
after the figures, both as a matter of convenience and to avoid possible mistakes. — Eds. 


able & satisfactory. I still remain here, not able to do any 
thing, nor to ascertain what had best to be attempted in y e 
present conjuncture. I believe it to be a good rule in most 
cases to attempt nothing without a good prospect of suc- 
cess. It is unfortunate, however, that I have been obliged 
to skrew & to wire-draw to procure y e least information of 
y e most simple facts refering our disputes with Spain from 
those whose duty it has been to have furnished me in y e 
most prompt manner with every fact in their power. It 
has been y e prevailing 906. 1576. 934. 21. 178 [opinion of 
our minister here] that I sh d 497. 1440. 178 [wait here] for 
1385. 849. 271. 999. 934. 1229. 637 [the dispatches from 
our government] which ought to give 746. 897 [reply] to 
the 225. 917. 1401. 565. 1067 [propositions] he has for- 
warded, altho 1385. 225. 917. 1401. 565. 1067 [proposi- 
tions] themselves I have not yet seen, and it was last 
night only that I rec d y e promise of 1501. 1045 [a copy] 
of them, under very particular injunctions that I sh d shew 
them to no one ! I beg you to write to me under cover 
to Mess™ Hortinguer & C° by y e first opp ty & let me know 
what your situation is, & whether any thing is likely to 
turn up which shall render my presence necessary at 
Madrid before I may receive intelligence from y e U. S. 
The British gov*, it seems, has taken a very decisive line 
of conduct respecting our neutrality. It is said that S r 
W m Scott has published a pamphlet w ch puts an end to all 
doubt upon this subject.* It is intended to prepare the 
nation for the measures settled in y e cabinet. The pam- 
phlet is brot here by a Dutchman married to y e daughter 
of S r Fra s Baring & who is one of y e h se of Hope & C°. 
What are his precise motives in coming here is not 
known, or whether it has reference to y e money projects 
w ch are to heal our disputes w th Spain. The determination 

* The pamphlet here referred to was not written by Sir William Scott (afterward 
Lord Stowell), but by James Stephen. See a notice of him by his grandson, the late Sir 
Leslie Stephen, K. C. B., in Dictionary of National Biography, vol. liv. p. 162. — Eds. 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 263 

1576. 934. 1229. 637 [of our government] respecting y e 
148 [money] project has been expected for some time 
past. Could we by any means seperate 934. 848. 494. 
1067 [our disputes] from the influence of these 148. 586. 
416. 1300. 1067 [money lenders], or if no proposition on 
this subject had been forwarded to 934. 1229. 637 [our 
government] we might hope under existing circumstances 
thro our disputes with G. B. to bring our affairs to an 
amicable adjustment, but nothing can be looked for from 
this 1229. 637 [government] or, I fear, from the 255. 1438 
[Spanish] untill this 225. 917. 1440. 1433 [proposition] is 
finally disposed of. If it is asked whether 1361 [Taly- 
rand] had not better be written to, & y e critical state of 
our affairs w th y e British cabinet made known to him, the 
reply is that 1361 [Talyrand] will demand 934. 205. 106. 
1067 [our power commits]. It is rejoined that 167. 1426. 
24. 1433. 1067 [my instructions] by the general expres- 
sions contained in them w d be adequate to y e purpose. 
This is questioned & it is finally insinuated that gen 1 
1426. 24. 1433. 1067 [instructions] would have no weight 
with him, especially 1501. 225. 917. 1401. 565 [a prop- 
osition] had been sent to y e U. S. & is not replied to ! 
This project will probably stand in y e way of every plan 
of adjustment w ch can be proposed, & when it is disposed 
of it is probable that other views & considerations will 
have their weight, but not till then. 

The writer of y e pamphlet aforementioned aims to 
establish y e position that neutral commerce is war in dis- 
guise, & that it sh d not be allowed ! and recommends y e 
adoption of y e measures pursued towards neutrals, par- 
ticularly the Dutch in y e year 1756. That no nation 
except y e U. S. w d have an interest to interfere, and that 
to permit y e neutrality of y e U. S. upon its present prin- 
ciples was more injurious than their commerce was bene- 
ficial. That in case the restrictions should be resented & 
they sh d produce war that they had nothing to fear from 


a nation without troops or ships, energy in its gov', or 
means to annoy the British commerce or nation in any 
way. That y e nation had to apprehend but a temporary 
suspension of y e vent of their manufactures for a short 
time, w ch peace w d restore with accumulating advantages. 
In short, y e whole scope & design of y e writer is to pro- 
mote an open rupture with y e U. S. Our merch ts by y e 
last acc ts , up to y e 17 th of Oct°, have suffered great loss 
from y e capture of our vessells, & were extremely clam- 
orous ag st the British gov*, and I expect nothing but 
to hear of increasing depredations, & that y e pacifick 
maxims of gov* will be relinquished from y e necessity of 
y e case. I am promised a sight of y e pamphlet & shall 
give you further accounts of it after reading it. I have 
seen a lett r from M r Williams, late consul at Lond . He 
mentions that y e English continue the depradations, &c a , 
& will. M r Dickason in a letter to me observes to y e 
same effect. Step. Higginson, y e Perkins's, Sears, & 
others have met great losses. I have seen Boston news- 
papers to y e 17 th Oct . Gov r McKean is re-elected, to y e 
mortification of T. Paine. Duane, &c a . The Presid* has 
called together y e heads of departments to consider what 
measures sh d be pursued, or recommended to Congress at 
y e next meeting. Our papers are filled with rancorous 
abuse of y e adminis 11 for its pusalinimity & cowardice. 
Strokes are levelled at Mess rs Livingston & Monroe, and 
we shall be fortunate if we escape. Endeavour to ascer- 
tain if possible whether y e principal negociations will be 
carried on here or at Madrid, and what weight 256.* will 
have in y e management of its own 849.t 

T have not heard from y r father since my arrival in 
Paris. M rs B., Sarah, & M r Sullivan join me in regards. 
I have rec d letters from Boston to y e 31 Aug*. Our 
friends were well. 

Believe me always very sincerely yours. J. B. 

* Spain. — Eds. t Dispute ? — Eds. 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 265 

P. S. The Emperor's successes surpass belief. He has 
not only beaten Austria out of y e field, but has provided 
for y e civil gov* and has admitted Hungary to a seperate 
peace ; # y e Prussian minister is at Vienna confering upon 
y e subject of a treaty ; whilst Kosiuskio & y e Polish officers 
are gone to Poland, w ch is reorganized under y e guarantee 
of y r Emperor. In short y e coalesced powers seem to be 
completely done up. 

Dec. 4 th . I rec d your letter of y e 29 Oct to y e 7 th Nov. at 

Gen 1 A 's while I was at dinner on y e 29 th , w cb induced 

me to detain y e foregoing. He has been more communi- 
cative than he was, & promised me a sight of his despatches 
to our gov* ; but they have not yet been shewn. Make 
y r own comments. I w d not do injustice, nor give you a 
wrong impression, & I am willing to believe we shall still 
harmonize, but his conduct has an odd appearance. I 
have rec d late letters from Boston, & one from y r father of 
12 th of Nov r only yesterday. He desires me to mention 
to you that he has rec d your letter No. 4 & also of y e 7 th 
& 10 th from Bayonne. Your father is impatient to hear 
ofy r arrival at Madrid. I acquainted him of it by a 
letter I wrote to him yesterday by M r Sullivan's brother 
who sets off for Engl d this day. He says he shall not 
write to you again untill he hears from you at Madrid, & 
desires me to acquaint you that he does not find himself 
so well in health as when he left me ; he says he is under 
y e hands of his doctor & y e nauseous discipline of pills & 
plaisters. The approaching winter, he says, makes him 
fear that without great care he will not be able to keep 
y e ground he now holds. By letters from Boston, as also 
from Lond we are to apprehend an open rupture w th G. B. 
My reasons for this opinion I shall give you in my next, 
w ch I shall write to you in a day or two. In y e mean time, 
believe, very sincerely yours. J. B. 

My next will more particularly reply to y r last letter. 

* This proves unfounded. 



Paris, Dec. 5, 1805. 
G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you Nov. 28, but having 
occasion to detain y e letter I added a postscript & for- 
warded it yesterday. I write to you now with a view of 
stating some gen 1 facts, & replying to y r letters of y e 29 th of 
Oct to y e 7 th ult° & also to yours of y e 19 th . As y e pros- 
pect of war between y e U. S. & G. B. must produce a most 
important influence upon the measures of France & Spain 
relative to y e U. S.> I think it best to let you know y e facts 
relative to this subject on both sides. The capture of 
our vessells by British cruizers have been carried to an 
unexampled length, and by y e last acc ts in no way remitted. 
That y e orders of 1793 are re-issued and are probably en- 
forced with great rigour upon our coast & in y e West 
Indies ; & one privateer alone has detained no less than 
ten of our vessells in England. That this measure has 
arisen from no accidental cause is evident from y e con- 
duct of y e British cabinet in respect to M r Monroe & from 
S r W m Scott's late pamphlet avowing the determination in 
a manner to set up y e principle, to pursue the practice & 
to take y e consequences of y e measure. His pamphlet goes 
to y e excluding our vessells from carrying the produce of 
y e East or West Indies to Europe under any pretence ; & 
he asserts that nothing short of this will remedy y e evils 
w ch arise from our neutral commerce. The facts upon w ch 
he grounds y e necessity for y e measure are very lengthily 
detailed & very abusive of our citizens; whilst he takes 
occasion to compliment y e English prize-courts as y e very 
sanctuaries of justice ! These facts taken by themselves 
point directly to unavoidable war ; unless hostilities are 
permitted on one side & not retaliated on the other. The 
part of Sir W m ' 8 pamphlet w ch points to y e determination 
of y e British gov* to interdict our commerce to Europe in 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 267 

y e productions & goods of y e East & West Indies has been 
translated & sent to y e Emperor, & it is probable, will 
produce a favourable effect in our measures with Spain. 
But when or how I know not. On the other hand, the 
great successes of y e Emperor, who it is said has already 
broken up y e coalition ; and it is confidently asserted that 
y e ministers of Russia, Prussia & Austria are now confer- 
ing upon a continental peace, w ch is expected in a short 
time. Sh d this report prove true, I sh d think M r Pitt would 
hardly chuse to make an open enemy of y e U. S., but w d 
prefer perhaps indemnification or a new treaty like that 
of M r Jay's. Upon the side of our gov* Gen 1 A. shew 
me two letters, one from Gen 1 Smith & y e other from 
Gen 1 Mulenburg both breathing y e most lamblike patience ! 
but in justice to them, they w T ere not in y e full possession 
of y e depredations w ch had been committed, nor of y e prin- 
ciples w ch actuated y e British cabinet. Our unsettled dis- 
putes with Spain, our party dissentions at New York & 
Pensilvania, y e nature of our gov*, y e temper of our ad- 
ministration, all refer to negociation rather than to an 
appeal to y e sword. But notwithstanding these circum- 
stances y e extent of y e injuries w ch will be sustained (taken 
in connection with y e immense loss of capital & revenue) 
will place y e administration in that kind of situation as to 
be compelled to take up a bold & spirited line of conduct. 
I wish our gov* had but one object, one enemy to contend 
with. The hydra of faction at home neutralizing every 
measure ; the unprincipled motives w ch govern European 
councils & politics and contributing to give distrust of 
y e measures to be pursued towards y e belligerents, will 
doubtless have a great & pernicious influence ; but I still 
think, that y e administration will not suffer y e nation to be 
disgraced in y e estimation of y e citizens and in y e eyes of 
foreign nations by suffering the late inroads upon our com- 
merce to pass unnoticed, or what w d amount to it, to order 
our minister to crouch & bend to y e British gov* & to 


crave its mercy & forgiveness ! I am much obliged to you 
for y r mem° respecting y e road & journey to Madrid. As 
soon as I shall determine upon the time of setting out I 
will inform you that y e h se & other circumstances may be 
prepared. With respect to y e h se I wish it may be a com- 
modious one for our family, y e number & particulars of 
w ch you know, & I sh d not be averse to paying a little back 
rent, if it was necessary to insure a good h se in a good situ- 
ation & at a price not extravagant, but you must remem- 
ber the streightened salary of an American minister. The 
iron ware that you speak of, it appears to me, had better 
be procured at Bayonne thro M r Lannes ; please to pro- 
cure from him what may be really necessary & with as 
little expence in the purchase & transportation as you can ; 
it w d not answer to have a carriage to carry these things 
specially, if that was necessary it had best to be left to me 
when passing Bayonne ; otherwise procure them & charge 
me with them or draw upon me for their am*. With 
respect to y e other objects of furniture, I think you observe 
that what I may want with that w ch I have at S* Ander, 
can be had at Madrid. With respect to a royal order, I 
w d mention that I have M r Cevallos's passport sent me in 
July last ; but if it ought to be renewed, I c d wish one to 
be sent to M r Lee's at Bordeaux, & to accompany it with 
an order that my baggage might pass with* molestation 
agreably to what is generally allowed to ministers. At 
S* Ander y e custom h se rec d orders to seal my baggage to 
be inspected at Madrid ; I shall have no objection to this 
mode, as it may respect the things to be sent in waggons, 
but with respect to y e things we may .take in y e carriage 
in w ch we shall pursue our journey there is a strong objec- 
tion, as we may occasionally want to open our trunks. 
I shall not abuse my privilege by carrying any thing 
except what I shall actually require at Madrid or upon 
y e road, & you may give y e fullest assurances of y e circum- 
stance in my name. ' It is possible however that M rs B. 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 269 

may have silk or velvet to be made up in y e Spanish 
fashion at Madrid. Apropos, M rs B. desires you to speak 
to M rs Bournouville on the subject of French & Spanish 
fashions & to know if y e French c* dresses are allowed to 
be used in Spain, & to request her to give you a descrip- 
tion of y e Spanish dresses so worded as to be intelligible 
to a Paris faisseur des robes. With respect to money I 
required of Mess. Willinks, Vanstaphorst & C° to minutely 
understand that I sh d not receive y e paper currency of any 
country for any part of my salary & appointing & in con- 
sequence they have noticed y e circumstance specially to 
Sres Filipe Viol Ravara y Hijo, to whom you will apply 
for y r allowance upon gov\ as you will see by y e copy of 
y e letter sent to them. With respect to newspapers, I 
desired M 1 ' Barnet to order that y e Argos sh d be sent to 
Madrid to you or to me as minister. I have not seen him 
since. I take y e Moniteur, & if you think it will not be 
lost or can be preserved so as to be formed into a vol 6 I 
will forward them to you from day to day : I have them 
already for 13 y r3 . I shall probably write to you in ab* a 
week concerning our affairs. I have rec d a proposal or 
rather y e plan of a proposal w ch will be brot forward about 
that time ; I don't expect much from it. Nobody knows 
of it but myself, of course 1401 * does not. More Jesuitism 
can hardly be conceived, there is nothing but a wish to 
serve our country c d induce me to bear with such leger- 
demain : but time will discover y e real motives of his 
proceedings w ch is at present perfectly incomprehensible. 
Observe (1 beg of you) what you may write to him & 
particularly not to direct any of y e letters for me to him. 

* I. (Izquierdo.) Eugene Izquierdo de Ribera y Lezaun was born in Saragossa, and 
received an excellent education under the direction of Comte de Fuentes, who drew him 
from obscurity and opened the way for his future advancement. In 1797 he came under 
the protection of Godoy, afterward Prince of Peace. In 1806 he was sent to Paris to nego- 
tiate a treaty with France. The negotiation languished ; but in 1807 a treaty was signed 
for the division of Portugal, which, however, failed of execution, and Izquierdo returned 
to Spain. Subsequently he held other confidential relations with the Emperor Napoleon 
and the fugitive King Charles IV. Ha died in Paris in 1813. See Nouvelle Biographie 
Generate, vol. xxvi. pp. 137, 138. — Eds. 


Either to M r Barnet or to Mess. Hortinguer & C° w d be 
better. I shall have much to say to you upon this sub- 
ject when I see you. 6 th . The Argos has been sent to 
you & I have p d the bill, six months in ad vce . 1401 and I 
had a very plain & interesting conversation y e last even- 
ing, w ch has put it out of my power to enlarge this letter, 
as it swallowed up y e time w ch I sh d otherwise have em- 
ployed in writing to you. I enclose you y e copy of y e 
dispatch in cypher to M r Monroe, y e one w ch accompanied 
it of y e 16 th June refered to in mine of Nov r 6 th is of no 
consequence to be now forward d ; it was directed to Gen 1 
Armstrong & rec d w th mine of y e 23 d to M r M., y e 23 d en- 
closed it. I have this moment rec d a letter from M r Alex- 
ander, mentioning that he had rec d letters for Gen 1 A. 
& myself from M r Monroe, w ch he sh d send by express, if a 
good opp ty did not soon present. My opinion is that 
nothing sh d be done concerning y e instructions of y e 23 d of 
May, as we must soon receive other & further. In my 
next, I shall write to you concerning them, if they sh d not 
be superceeded by y e intelligence from M r Monroe or our 
gov*. But I must desist, or give up a good opportunity 
of writing to our gov*, which I have not yet done since I 
left England. Adieu ; my family desires to be remembered 
to you. Believe me always with much sincerity & esteem, 
d r Sir, 

Yours &c a . 

James Bowdoin. 

M rs B. desires me to repeat to you that she desires you 
w d inform her respecting c* dresses : she left in Spain India 
gold muslins & India plain ditto w ch she brot from Amer- 
ica for herself & neice. She wishes to know whether it 
will be necessary to carry dresses from here & if so, what ? 
& whether it w d be necessary to have them made up ? & in 
what fashion ? as she understands that hoops are worn at 
court in Madrid, & that they are not here. 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 271 


Paris, Dec. 20, 1805.* 
Tho s L. Winthrop, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — ... I am to thank you for your early 
attention to my request in respect to y e remittances of one 
thousand & five hundred, w ch two sums making 1500 <£ 
will be duely paid, as I understand from M r Erving. It 
appears also by your letters of y e 20 th & 30 th Sep. that y e 
critical situation of our commerce had excited some alarm 
& y r particular attention. You may be assured that I 
will give you y e earliest & best information concerning 
it w ch my situation may allow ; what I apprehended when 
in Engl d seems to be realised, i. e., that y e British cabinet 
meant to combine with y e policy & measures she was 
pursuing upon y e continent ag st France a line of conduct 
which in its consequences w d greatly curtail if not ruin 
our commerce : that Russia & Sweden being engaged in 
a common cause with her would not be sensible or 
perhaps indifferent to y e measures she might pursue 
towards neutrals : that Denmark was too feeble & her 
situation too critical to oppose her views : that y e U. S. 
from their love of peace, their internal divisions, & 
from y e nature of their gov* w d hardly dare to oppose the 
principles she might set up, or if they did that our hos- 
tilities w d be feeble & of no avail ag st her naval superi- 
ority. The conduct to our flag since July last must 
convince every unprejudiced mind, especially if taken in 
connection with L d Sheffield's pamphlet & one since 
written, tfrat her intention has not been less to reduce 
the commerce of y e U. S. than to curtail y e influence & 
power of France. The coalition was formed & projected 
under as many circumstances to promise success as can 
well be devised, not a crowned head in Europe but what 

* The omitted portion of this letter relates to the management of Mr. Bowdoin's estate 
on the island of Naushon, in regard to which minute directions are given. See 6 Mass. 
Hist. Coll., vol. v. p. 366 note. — Eds. 


was a party to it ; and it is whispered, but take care how 
such a suggestion sh d appear to come from me, that even 
Spain was to join her aid in y e common cause : but such 
has been the promptitude of B-'s measures & y e celerity 
of his movements that in all probability the coalition is 
or will be disgracefully broken up : and I expect that y e 
British ministry will see too many dangers in bringing 
about an open rupture with y e U. S. Our consumption 
of her manufactures seems to be her last hope for the 
preservation of her independence, and madness can hardly 
be conceived so outrageous as to cut off this last prop & 
add the permanent loss of our custom & commerce to 
every other difficulty with w oh she seems to be threatened. 
But lest she sh d persist in her error, & sh d consider that 
as her situation becomes critical, a more rigid adherence 
to her system of restriction upon neutrals may be neces- 
sary, I will endeavour to give you such information as I 
have in regard to the decisions in her prize c ts . M r 
Monroe in his last letter to me dated in Nov r (13) says 
that y e Admiralty Judge in a late decision, in which he 
adverted to y e impression w ch had been taken from his 
former ones, w ch he called erroneous, stated that a com- 
merce in y e productions of an enemy's colony might be 
lawful, if they had become a part of y e stock of y e neutral 
country, it was understood that he admitted such pro- 
ductions to be a part of y e stock if they were bot in y e 
neutral country by y e exporter, but as y e decision & doc- 
trine by w ch he supported ifc turned on y e question of y e 
continuity of y e voyage, over w ch he seemed to claim an 
absolute controul, there is no security that he will here- 
after consider that circumstance as conclusive proof; he 
may possibly insist, sh d he find that restriction complied 
with, that other circumstances controul it & push y e 
pretensions of his gov* step by step " till y e commerce 
was entirely cut up." I have an opinion of M r Sam 1 
Williams to y e same effect; so that there seems to be a 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 273 

reserve in y e conduct of y e judge, probably responding 
to one in y e cabinet, w ch means in y e event of y e coalition 
proving unsuccessful to avoid an open rupture; that this 
is probably y e policy may be infered from the slowness 
with w ch \ e trials proceed, & that when they are made 
y e vessells are generally acquitted ; so that 1 apprehend, 
when y e acc° of y e battle of Austerlitz shall have reached 
Lond y e consequences of it will be seen & felt in a very 
general acquittal ; that y e cabinet will see y e wisdom of 
returning to her old ground, or at least so modified as 
not to change y e political posture of y e U. S. Remember 
I give you this opinion confidentially, grounded upon 
the best facts I am able to procure here. But in y e 
event of an opposite conduct arising from a real or pre- 
tended necessity to intercept y e resources of France thro 
y e channels of her commerce with neutrals, I think it 
necessary to draw your attention to an important subject 
at home, at your elbow, w ch will require all y e vigilance, 
attention & foresight of w cb you are capable. This is 
strong & alarming language, but I think it my duty 
to alarm you at y e present conjuncture. I refer to your 
banks, insurance companies, speculating projects, &c a , & 
to your debts & credits w ch may be predicated upon 
them. It is my advice to you to contract your business, 
to condence your affairs & avoid as much as possible 
y e giving & taking of credit. There is a great instability 
in property here ; and much greater may be expected 
from y e revolutions & changes in gov ts w ch are taking 
place in all parts of Europe. Gov ts are not susceptible 
of sudden change, without producing great injury to y e 
properties of individuals. That you may see how in- 
dividuals may become affected by sudden changes in a 
gov*, conceive to yourself the situation of a holder of y e 
public notes of Spain or of Austria only a few months 
since, & think what his present situation must be in 
respect to such kind of property ! Let me ask you what 



w d be y e situation of public or private credit was y e 
French to make good a landing in England, when the 
stocks & every species of paper credit is tottering & 
ready to fall from its own weight. The British system 
of credits both public & private once interrupted by 
a great & general calamity at home or abroad, the bubble 
w d burst & all y e attendant evils would flow in. You are 
too well acquainted with credits & bank operations & y e 
manner in w ch they are interwoven in all commercial 
transactions to require me to show you how these evils 
could be induced or brot about. When I consider the 
peculiar situation of y e British nation, with respect to y e 
war in which she is engaged, the invasion with w ch she is 
threatened, & y e dangers to w ch she is exposed from a 
delusive paper medium I tremble for the consequences; 
no one I believe has yet attempted to calculate y e evils 
w ch would flow from a sudden discredit of the paper of 
that country by its ceasing to be a representative of 
specie, & its debts, credits, & commerce left without a 
substitute except in a consequent appreciation of the 
precious metals ! suffice it to say, that y e calamity 
would be frightful, & that y e shock would be severely 
felt in every country to which y e commerce extends ; but 
what revolutions have not y e present generation experi- 
enced ! I don't know then how to advise you better 
than by telling you that considering the present state 
of Europe, the peculiar situation of our commerce & y e 
undue & dangerous circulation of paper in our country, 
than to recommend to you what has been above sug- 
gested, to trim the ship, to reef the sails, & to prepare for 
laying to, untill y e impending tempest shall be in some 
measure dissipated, or its direction be better ascertained. 
Keep the following hint to yourself, I have it from the 
best authority, that whilst y e Spanish gov* refuses to sell 
bills upon the colonies at Madrid, they may be procured 
from the agents at Paris to almost any am°, & that a very 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 275 

large sum has been lately purchased by a house in Hol- 
land from 3/ to 3/6 sterl g y e dollar. It is probably made 
on acc° of y e English East India C°, & y e dollars will be 
probably taken in y e colonies & sent to Canton for their 
use. If you can turn this information to any acc° let me 
know. I don't know why it w d not answer for our 
merch ts trading to Canton. I omitted to mention to you 
concerning the timber at Naushon, that it w d be best to 
have it cut & sold, with all y e necessary precautions to 
procure y e sale of y e good & bad together ; & that y e trees 
be so cut as to make y e greatest quantity of timber, other- 
wise great loss & waste may be expected. It is y e old & 
decaying timber w ch ought to be first cut & y e residue 
left for future growth. Among the papers left in my 
desk there is an unexecuted agreem* for a vessell to be 
built at Naushon with y e timber growing there ; it was 
well digested at y e time, & contains y e material checks 
in respect to culling the timber. I omitted another 
circumstance respecting y e improvm* of y e island, w ch 
applies strongly to all large open plains of light lands 
especially, w cb is that to bring them into a state of good 
cultivation, the enclosures sh d be lined or surrounded 
with trees to intercept high winds w ch carry off the finer 
& more fertile parts of such soils. This has been found 
necessary to improve y e commons & waste lands in Engl d . 
I wish therefore as fast as y e new walls shall be completed 
that trees may be planted by the sides of them, & that 
three or four small enclosures be made in different parts 
of y e island in which sh d be planted some locust trees with a 
quantity of y e seed of the tree, to be kept as nurseries for 
this purpose. I w d not however depend upon these alone, 
as y e beech nuts & oak acorns sh d be planted along side 
such walls in a furrow to be made by a plough upon each 
side of y e walls at such a distance as not to endanger the 
walls ; a brush fence I apprehend might be easily made 
to answer for a few y rs untill y e young trees sh d get out of 


y e reach of cattle. Please to mention this circumstance 
to M r Bullard & tell him that he must encourage as much 
as possible y e growth of wood upon the skirts of y e island, 
to shelter it as much as possible from y e high sea winds. 
I omitted also to ask y e state of y e marshes, whether they 
are all ditched & staked, or what has been done upon this 
subject in regard to them ? Please to reduce y e parts 
of this letter w ch respect y e island to queries & desire M r 
Bullard to reply to them in y e shortest & best manner. 
I observe you have rented the mansion house & y e Bunch 
of Grapes in State Street, & I have no doubt you have 
done for y e best. With respect to y* land in y e rear of y e 
house, if y e money c d be actually obtained & put out of 
all possible risk by being paid in hand, & can be imeadi- 
ately invested in public securities, I shall be willing to 
take thirteen thousand dollars for it, if more cannot be 
had ; but it must be put beyond all possibility of loss, for 
I w d have no deed promised or given until y e sum be fully 
secured ; and further that an adequate & sufficient wall 
sh d be built & be forever sustained to keep y e bank or 
ground of my garden in its present condition unless I sh d 
otherwise choose to alter it ; the fee of y e estate to rest 
upon this condition or to revert in case of non fullfill- 
ment, allowing a certain time for notice to be given of its 
going to ruin or want of repair. Please to have y e public 
securities placed to my name & a list of them w r ith y e 
numbers sent to me ; as also any other w ch you may 
buy upon my acc°. I wish to have a brick wall eight or 
nine feet high to be made round my garden and for this 
purpose I wish you would consult y e abutters, who w d 
derive equal convenience from it, especially Deacon Phil- 
lips, as it w d afford a good wall for fruit ; after consulting 
them, I shall be obliged to you to acquaint me with y e 
expence & what you can find it to be undertaken for. I 
wish also a precise plan & elevation of y e ground in front 
& rear, the precise situation of y e h ses abutting, y e shape & 

1805.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 277 

elevation of y e slopes, &c a , as I will have a plan made 
here, for the purpose of beautifying it, & skreening the 
ground from the abutters as much as possible. Please 
to let me know what sales you have made of y e eastern 
lands, & whether you & D r Corey conduct y e business rela- 
tive to them to your common satisfaction, as well as to 
my interest. I have been about writing to y e D r for some 
time past, but my occupations have put it out of my 
power. I have thus, my dear Sir, replied to y e several 
parts of your letters & given you such information re- 
specting my affairs as has occurred to me at present. It 
only remains for me to speak of our friends & family. I 
observed by our late letters, that Lady Temple has seri- 
ous thoughts of coming to England & that she means to 
embark early in the spring : I would only observe, that I 
am very sorry to notice it, & that she will repent it & 
will reap both mortification & disappointm* from the cir- 
cumstance, with a certain injury to her affairs w T hich she 
will find it difficult to repair. It certainly appears ex- 
traordinary that Lady Temple sh d think of it at this time, 
when the prudent people in England, not tied down to y e 
soil, are seriously thinking of making their retreat. The 
motives to that disposition are well known & I am sur- 
prised that Lady Temple does not know better how to 
appreciate y e advantages of her situation than to think of 
it. Let Lady Temple be quiet where she is a little longer, 
& her remaining children will be about her from y e incon- 
veniences w ch they must find from continuing in Europe. 
For my part I wish myself at home, & as soon as I can 
honourably acquit myself of y e commission with w ch I am 
charged, I shall seize the first opp ty for returning. I shall 
write to Lady Temple the first leisure moments I have. 
James, I hope, is not drawing his mother into this mad 
scheme of coming to Europe. Tell him 1 have rec d sev- 
eral letters from him & that I shall answer them as soon as 
I can find time ; but that it is neither for his interest nor 


for his mother's to think of going to England. Give my 
most affectionate regards to my sister, & tell her for once 
to let my advice to her be paramount to any other. M r 
Bowdoin & Sarah have written to Lady T. & M rs Winthrop 
& Eliza three letters, since they have been in Paris. Sarah 
makes great proficiency in French, & is much pleased with 
her present situation. Give my best regards to M rs Win- 
throp & to your family generally. I have bot a number 
of school books, w ch I shall send to you for the use of y r 
boys by y e first opp fcy ; but I am not yet apprized of the 
best opp ty of sending to y e sea coast. When I am I shall 
send out a few books, pictures, &c a , to y r care. Pray send 
me the size of our lowest rooms & y r height, & such a 
description of y e floors that I may send out carpels for 
them. Pray write to me concerning our affairs with Spain, 
& particularly concerning the disposition & spirit of y e H se 
of Rep s in relation to our foreign concerns. In my next 
I hope that I shall be able to give you some acc° of them. 
Eemember me to M r Sears, y e Sherriff, & our neighbours 
generally, to M r Balch, D r Jefferries, & all enquiring 
friends, & believe me with much respect & esteem, d r Sir, 
Very sincerely yours. 

James Bowdoin. 

P. S. I omitted to acknowledge y e rec* of yours of 
y e 31 st Aug*, w ch by some mistake happened not to be put 
upon file. I must refer you to my next in answer to 
a certain suggestion in that letter respecting our disputes 
with Spain. I w d just mention to you, that M r Sullivan, 
my sec ty , w d find great convenience in having it in his 
power to wear a military dress. It w d give him respect 
& save him expence in going to court & to other public 
places. M r S has served three y rs in y e Cadet C°, & has 
some claim to a commission from that circumstance. I 
shall be obliged to you if you see your way clear to 
apply to y e Gov r to give him a commission as Major in 
y e militia ; and if it would give it weight you may sug- 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 279 

gest that I sh d take it as a favour. Perhaps it may be 
necessary that some gen 1 officer sh d appoint him as one 
of his aids de champs ; sh d the application be likely to fail 
for y e want of this choice, I have no doubt Gen 1 Varnum 
would upon intimation make y e request of y e Governour. 
I think y e Gov r must be above allowing any little party 
motives to operate as an objection, as it may be ultimately 
a benefit to y e service to have a young man of observa- 
tion to consider himself an American officer, who may be 
thereby induced to enquire into the late improvem ts made 
in y e art militaire, especially in this country. Believe me 

Yours &c a . 

J. B. 


Paris, Jan. 7 th , 1806. 
G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — I have been in a peculiar situation 
here in respect to certain propositions w ch have been 
informally made to me in a way w ch I cannot as yet 
explain, being under positive injunctions for the present, 
but w ch I sh d not extend to you notwithstanding, was 
I not afraid to commit them to paper to be transmitted 
by post ; but you shall be acquainted with them as soon 
as I can find a safe opp ty of writing to you. These 
propositions, a long letter to y e gov*, with many to my 
private friends, have given me so much employm* that 
I have not had time to write to you since that of y e 5 th of 
Dec, w ch by yours of y e 20 th ult° I observe that you have 
rec d . Your letter of the 3 d w T ith its duplicate I duely 
rec d thro M r Lee, & imeadiately wrote to Mess. Willinks, 
Vanstaphorst & C° concerning y e bills you had drawn 
upon them, & there is no reason to suppose but that they 
will be duely honor'd. Your letter of y e 13 th containing 
y r conversation with , &c a , has failed, & in all proba- 


bility has fallen into y e hands of y e gov*. Let me know 
under whose cover you sent it; great care must be taken 
what you write, w ch shall implicate or give information 
of y e views or opinions of the 215. 1576. 1118.*: 1399. 
1229. 637. ,t w ch he hates, is jealous of him. When you see 
him again, remember to impress y e advantages of being 
a land-holder in y e U. S. ; that y e land rises very rapidly 
in value ; and that as he owns a large tract to y e east- 
ward of y e Rio Bravo you must not fail to excite his ava- 
rice by y e advantages w cb w d immediately be derived to 
its value by its becoming an undisputed part of our terri- 
tory. I have reasons for giving this hint. I observe 
what you mention of y e news in y e Boston Palladium, & 
I have no doubt of y e measures of our gov* becoming 
hostile ; or in other words -that we shall take possession 
of y e disputed territory in every part of it, if not of y e 
Floridas at the same time to indemnify the spoliations. 
With respect to our disputes with Great Britain the 
ministry I believe has already given way. The state of 
y e coalition is such that I have no doubt of the line of 
conduct they will take ; indeed a fortnight since I saw 
a reserve in their proceedings w ch clearly indicated that 
they had strong doubts of their measures & that they 
were evidently looking for news from y e continent to 
determine whether they sh d proceed to enforce the prin- 
ciples of 1756, or to return to y e Rule of 1801 ostensibly 
modified but radically y e same. I observed that altho 
their ports were full of our vessells carried in, yet y e trials 
proceeded very slowly ; y e judge professed to have 
changed no opinions; the trials were frequently ad- 
journed, but y e vessells generally cleared ; but their be- 
ing no hope of resisting France but thro y e credit w ch she 
derives from y e almost exclusive possession of y e advan- 
tages of our commerce, there is little reason to think 
that when she is already crippled that she will throw 

* Prince of Peace. — Eds. t This government. — Eds. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN". 281 

away her principal support. No ! she will succomb, & 
y e next news I expect from our friend M r Monroe will 
indicate different & an altered conduct towards him. 
The neutrality of Prussia is settled; also peace with 
Austria ; Naples is soon to be incorporated with y e King- 
dom of Italy ; and the French army for the want of 
employm* will soon return to Boulogne to again alarm, 
if not to conquer Britain. My last dispatches of w ch I 
wrote to you proved only a copy of instruct 8 to consuls, 
marshals, &c a , w ch I suppose you have seen, or if not you 
may certainly find them in y e hands of M r Young. I 
understand I have letters from Engl d if not dispatches 
from America — between this & Rotterdam] ; if they 
contain any thing I shall write to you concerning them. 

At present I w d only suggest to you that in case y e 
proposals I have under consideration shall fail, there will 
only remain one line of conduct to procure y e Florid as 

6 a decent consideration for the spoliations, w ch is to 
endeavour to convince y e Prince of Peace that if we are 
obliged to recur to this gov* for its friendly offices, that 
it must be to y e manifest disadvantage of Spain ; for the 
reason that whatever money shall be agreed to be paid, 
will be by so[me] device or other drawn into the French 
treasury, & from what has been suggested of y e plan w ch 
has been sent to y e U. S., this will certainly be y e case. 
They had better therefore save both reputation & money 
by treating directly with y e U. S. without y e interven- 
tion of this gov*. If y e Prince of will agree to accept 

2 milions of doll rs payable at Mad d , either in specie 
or securities of y e U. S. for the Floridas, allow from 5 to 

7 milion of doll rs for Span h spoliations in bills upon y e 
colonies, to be distributed to y e claim* 3 by y e gov* of y e 
U. S., the river Colorado to become y e western boundary 
of y e U. S., unless the Prince might be acted upon \toryi\ 
to y e river Brave for the reasons before stated, I w d 
imeadiately set out for Madrid & close y e treaty without 


further delay. I cannot add at present except to let 
nie know y e effect of this suggestion, if you sh d think it 
best to make it. As I write for y r & my convenience my 
letters may or may not contradict each other, but this 
need not be regarded for reasons before stated. My 
family desire to be remembered to you. Believe me 
always, w th much esteem, 

Yours. J. B. 

I shall write to you again in a day or two. , 

G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you a lengthy letter of 
the 7 th inst* to w ch please to be refered. I have since met 
the agent of y e agent 1576. 1385. 215. 1576. 1118 [of the 
Prince of Peace] ; so far as a man can be considered such 
who is empowered by him to appropriate y e proceeds 
1576. 502. 262. 668. 1170. 970 [of East & West Florida] 
to y e payment of certain demands w ch he has upon the 
225. 448. 754. 692. 490. 653 [Spanish treasury] w ch can- 
not be adjusted, except by a recurrence to this 229. 637 
[government] to fullfill her guarantee : in this case there 
will be great danger that 992 [France] will take 502. 262. 
668. 1170. 970 [East Florida] to her own acc° & pay y e 
money stipulated. 1385. 391 [The sum] is about 987. 648. 
1576. 794. 1067 [four millions dollars]. Thus circum- 
stanced I have rec d 219. 1148. 1098. 565. 1067 [proposi- 
tions] w ch had for their object the adjustm* of the whole 
business, and I am told 1501. 755. 653. 1087. 883. 1385 
[treaty settling the] whole 845. 229. 1372 [dispute] could 
be obtained, admitting I was 539. 205. 520 [empowered] 
& was willing to agree upon y e sum to be paid : how far 
this agent of an agent can be depended upon, whether the 

* See note, ante, p. 261 — Eds. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 283 

pretended or real agent 1525. 1576. 1385. 215. 1576. 
1118 [of the Prince of Peace] is able to induce measures 
of such consequence & that too from, an anxiety in 1385. 
255. 448. 1229. 637 [the Spanish government] to pro- 
vide for a particular species of debt is question of some 
importance as well as doubt, but as y e 391 [sum] to which 
I am limited, or I shall think myself so, before I receive 
further 1426. 24. 1433. 1067. 999. 934. 1229. 637 [in- 
structions from our government] is not likely to meet y e 
wishes and views of y e particular creditors in question of 
138. 255. 448. 1229. 637 [the Spanish government], I 
think it best to proceed in such a manner as to give to 
y e 255. 1438. 1229. 637 [Spanish government] such a view 
of y e case as she may if possible be induced to close y e 
subject of our disputes as soon as may be. In order to 
this we ought to ascertain what our own gov* expects, & 
then what 1385. 225. 448. 1229. 637 [the Spanish govern- 
ment] might be induced to do without y e interference of 
995 [France] & what it might be actually obliged to do 
with it. With respect to the first I had made 1501. 839. 
272. 1576. 1385. 1426. 24. 1433. 1067. 1576. 934. 1229. 
637. 569 [a digest of the instructions of our government 
to] Mr. Monroe dated April 18 & July 8 th , 1804, & also 
of y e 23 of May, 1805. I must refer you to them, they 
being nothing more than to leave 1385 [the] whole 845. 
229. 1372 [dispute] just as 1440 [it] then stood, only 
giving a free license to our vessels & citizens to have free 
egress & regress to & from y e rivers & waters running 
into y e Gulph of Mexico & lying between y e Apichicocha 
& y e Iberville ; presuming that these instructions suffi- 
ciently expose y e directions of our gov 1 , it remains to be 
considered what prospect there is that y e Spanish gov* 
may be induced to close with its views & be brot into a dis- 
position to adjust its disputes & differences with y e U. S. 
Was y e Spanish gov 1 left to itself altho it is sore under y e 
loss of Louisiana for w ch it is probable she w d have been 


induced to have paid even more than what y e U. S. gave 
France for it, yet upon mature reflection she cannot 
think it for her honour or interest to have 992. 569. 
1430. 327. 501. 1385. 1073. 169. 628 [France to interfere 
in the scheme] therefore is 569. 554. 513. 545. 177 [to 
threaten her] with that 1430. 327. 546 [interference] 
& to shew her what is but too obvious that if 992 
[France] undertakes it that she will expect 731. 161. 429. 
864 [remuneration] in some form or other, and it seems 
hardly necessary to repeat to you that Mr. 880. 472. 262. 
1592. 1067. 219. 1148. 1098. 585. 1067. 934. 1229. 637 
[Livingston's propositions to our government] & those 
since made by 1208. 1501 [General Armstrong] incontro- 
vertible prove y e disposition 1576. 1399. 1229, 637 [of 
this government] upon this subject. As to this last 1501 
[Armstrong] was, for what reason I know not, laid under 
y e strongest injunction 1576. 1075. 1054. 1066 [of secrecy] 
was required to forward them 569. 1385. 78 [to the 
President] instead of 1385. 826. 637- 1576. 264 [the 
department of State], and what is y e more extraordinary 
is that he sh d do all this without being 996. 548. 897. 
569. 1385. 219. 1148. 1098. 1067 [friendly to the prop- 
ositions] themselves. 1385. 219. 1148. 1098. 1067. — 684. 
1384. 1385. 49. 90. 741. 1426. 709. 1092. 1535. 1034. 
569. 496. 970. 668. 1541. 569. 1426. 821. 401. 1401, 26. 
981. 995. 254. 1587. 1401. 864. 1067. 1426. 255. 448. 
1153. 1067. 569. 741. 1426. 709. 1092. 981. 284. 1385. 
1454. 897. 1429. 569. 1385. 1170. 1576. 1385. 1040. 908. 
1513. 1501. 569. 736. 1426. 821. 449. 981. 255. 448. 
254. 1587. 1401. 864 [The propositions are, that the U. S. 
should relinquish all claim to W. Florida and also to 
indemnifications for French spoliations in Spanish ports, 
to relinquish forever the lands lying to the west of the 
Colorado, to receive indemnity for Spanish spoliations] 
bona fide such 1426. 255. 448. 1335. 1452. 1067 [in 
Spanish bills] upon y e colonies & to pay 1375. 648. 1576 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 285 

794. 1067 [ten millions of dollars] at Paris in cash or y e 
public securities of y e 49. 981. 501. 668. 496. 970 [U. S., 
for East & West Florida]. These are the 219. 1148. 1098. 
1067 [propositions] which 1501 [Armstrong] read to me, 
but w d not permit me to take a copy of them ; he, how- 
ever, told me that they were 1426. 1385. 1249. 1200. 1440. 
1429. 1576. 1366. 501. 720. 801 [in the hand-writing 
of Tally rand]. The point now to be ascertained is, how 
these facts, very important indeed, can be communicated 
without hazard 569. 1385. 215. 1576. 1118 [to the Prince 
of Peace] and without bringing about an eclaircissement 
1190. 1366. 501. 720. 801. 668. 1385. 21. 1067. 178 [with 
Tallyrand & the minister here] & c d there be a confid ce 
placed 1426. 1385. 215. 1576. 1118 [in the Prince of 
Peace], I am convinced that this fact w d have great 
weight with him in inducing an adjustm* of our dis- 
putes without y e 1430. 327. 546, 1576. 1399. 1229. 637. 
[interference of this government]. So far has this 44 
[mediation] proceeded that 1501 [Armstrong] has several 
times s d to me that he expected 875. 1452. 205. 1067 
[full powers] to adjust these disputes & that he had 
written 569. 1366. 501. 720. 801. [to Tallyrand] upon 
the subject of them, since even I have been in Paris. 
The proceeds of this sale, as well as y e method of trans- 
fering them 569. 1385. 1037. 301. 327. 1067. 1356. 1399. 
1229. 637. [to the coffers of this government] has been 
suggested. The question then as far as it respects 256 
[Spain] seems then to be reduced to 1594. 1149. 1175. 
256. [one point, whether Spain] will put 1399. 845. 229. 
1372, 1067. [this dispute] out of her own hands by w ch a 
loss 1576. 148. 668. 746. 493. 864 [of money and reputa- 
tion] must be incured, or whether she will consent to an 
equitable adjustm* of it, derive the advantage of 1385. 
148. 1426. 1249. 981. 501. 668. 496. 970 [the money 
in hand for E. and W. Florida] whilst she will provide 
for an equitable adjustm* of her 1034. 1067. 792. 1335. 


1452. 1067. [claims by bills] upon her colonies, thereby 
settle her differences & fix an undisputed frontier be- 
tween her colonies & y e U. S. Whatever is or may be 
done upon this subject, it must be so managed to cause 
no ill blood or open dispute ; & to avoid this, it must 
be either not noticed at all, or it must be required un- 
der the hands of 1385. 21 [the minister] that no notice 
shall be taken of it as it w d bring on a warm altercation 
699. 1109 [at Paris] first, 1331. 1501. 668. 1366. 501. 720. 
801. 1608. 1448. 713. 1366. 501. 720.801. [between Arm- 
strong and Tallyrand, Parker — Tallyrand] & w d probably 
stir up much strife & uneasiness, might be y e means of 
putting an end to all possibility of 1546. 1002. 1338. 653. 
1513. 1443. 934. 845. 229. 1372. 1067. [amicably adjust- 
ing our disputes]. Deliberate well upon these things, 
& take care not to involve 664. 1081. 908. 628. 908. 1385. 
49. 1426. 838. 653. [yourself or me or the U. S. in diffi- 
culty] upon this subject. 

Since writing y e foregoing I have rec d y e Presid*' 8 speech, 
a part of w ch I forwarded to you. The whole, I under- 
stand is to be published in y e Argos of this day. Gen 1 
Armstrong sent it to y e editor for insertion, & if there 
is nothing found offensive to y e policy of this gov* it will 
doubtless appear, & of course you will have it. Modera- 
tion & firmness characterize it ; and it is made clear that 
our disputes with Spain must soon ripen into open hostil- 
ity or an amicable adjustm*. I wish you to see the 215. 
1576. 1118 [Prince of Peace] imeadiately,& without attend- 
ing to y e former part of this letter to assure him in my name 
that I am sorry to see our affairs fast embroiling to a state 
of hostilities, that although I am waiting here to receive 
y e directions of our gov*, yet notwithstanding, if it is his 
particular wish that I sh d proceed to Madrid imeadiately 
that I will do it as soon as possible, that I think it will be 
extremely unfortunate for the two countries to come to 
an open rupture when it may be safely & honourably 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 287 

avoided, and that hostilities are inevitable if no redress can 
be obtained or negociation opened to procure it ; that it is 
not for the honour or interest of Spain that our rights sh d 
be longer withheld, or that our disputes sh d be refered to 
another power. 

Pray sound the 215 [Prince] upon this subject & if he 
829. 1435. 271. 167. 209. 506. 699. 606 [desires my pres- 
ence at Madrid], grounded upon any propositions w ch 
come within y e views of our gov* that desire ought to 
1310. 1448. 1101. 1361. 1078. & 1549. 297 [be kept 
secret ; and express] sh d be sent to me as soon as pos- 
sible, & in y e mean time 1385. 1379. 601. 1067. 1576. 1385. 
755. 653. [the terms of the treaty] ought to be signed so as 
to leave no time for 1399. 1229. 637 [this government] 
to interfere. Let me hear from you as soon as possible, 
& send your letters to me under cover to 1307. 432 [Mr. 
Barnet]. Mrs. B., Sarah, & Mr. Sullivan desire to be 
remembered to you. Believe me always, with much 
esteem, d r Sir, 

Yours. J. B. 

Paris, Jan. 15, 1806. 


Paris, Feb. 3 d , 1806. 
G. W. Erving, Esq. 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you on the 7 th & 15 th ult°, 
since w ch I have rec d yours of y e 3 d & 20 th of Jan. Yours 
of y e 21 st & 22 d Dec. still remain due. Of course I appre- 
hend that I shall have no further intelligence of them, 
except you forward me copies of them. I have very 
little to say at present unless to caution you ag st taking 
y e ground of my last letter. By some unaccountable cir- 
cumstance 1208. 1501 * has been extremely & unjusti- 

* General Armstrong, the American minister at Paris. — Eds. 




fiably reserved ; & I begun almost to think that we sh d 
have no confidential communications. I have reason to 
think & to hope for y e benefit of our country that we shall 
be less reserved in future. I wish therefore that you 
would suspend any communications to y e Prince of Peace 
on y e subject of my last letter, untill you hear further from 
me, if you sh d suppose that M r Madison's instructions do 
not amount to a direction against it. If y e Prince might 
wish to know y e source of y e information given, you may 
refer him to M. Ouvras, y e fournisseur of this gov*. With 
respect to Don Yrujo's having rec d full powers to treat, I 
believe it must be mere evasion : he c d not give the power 
of disposing of y e Floridas to one man, & that of negociat- 
ing for y e same object to another. Nothing it is probable 
will or can be done untill the propositions of y e Prince of 
Peace thro M. Ouvras shall be disposed of. This being y e 
state of things nothing can be expected to be done untill 
we hear further from our gov* ; and it is not probable 
that gov* will give further instructions untill Congress 
shall settle y e line of conduct to be pursued. A vessell 
in twenty two days from Baltimore has arrived at Lorient, 
but no letters from y e gov*, except a few lines to Gen 1 A. 
of no consequence. I have not yet seen y e Emperor or 
M. Tallerand, but I expect to in a few days. I shall write 
you upon every new occurrence, & shall depend upon 
your doing y e same. I have not lately heard from your 
father, or from M r Monroe since y e 13 th of Nov. I have 
written to them both frequently. M rs Bowdoin, Sarah, & 
M r Sullivan desire to be remembered to you. Believe me 
always with great attachm* & esteem, dear Sir, 
Very sincerely yours, &c a . 

J. B 

P. S. 


Please to excuse the above, being written in 

1806.] JAMES MADISON. 289 


Department of State, Feb* the 20 th , 1800. 

Sir, — The letters which I have received from you 
since your arrival at Madrid are under dates of 25 th 
Oct r , 20 Nov r , and 7 th Dec r last. 

The communications made in the last relating to the 
general dispositions of the Spanish government and of the 
presiding character in its councils are not without impor- 
tance, but in the actual posture of the relations between 
the two countries, it continues to be the purpose of the 
President that the reserve enjoined in my letter of the 
1 st Nov r towards the Spanish government should be strictly 
maintained. It is deemed improper after the result given 
by Spain to the overtures by an extraordinary mission 
from the United States, that any further negociations 
should be either instituted or invited on our part. The 
impropriety of this course is strengthened also by other 
considerations, particularly those arising from the Span- 
ish measures in our neighbourhood, some of which are 
explained in the papers herewith enclosed. 

You will find by extracts also enclosed from late com- 
munications from Governor Claiborne, that it had become 
necessary to put an end to the protracted continuance of 
the Marquis de Casa Calvo, Morales, and other Spanish 
agents within the country ceded to the United States. 
It has been the effect of an indulgence that their de- 
parture was not much sooner required. In the pres- 
ent crisis, and under every appearance that it was 
procrastinated unnecessarily, and with a view to the 
means of an insiduous influence, the measure had become 
an ordinary precaution, as well as a necessary mark of 

The enclosed publications of the correspondence of 
and with the Marquis de Yrujo, which have manifestly 
proceeded directly or indirectly from himself, need no 



particular comment; and the President directs that you 
lay them without any comment whatever before the Span- 
ish government. 

General Miranda, who arrived in this country not very 
long since from England, has lately proceeded from the 
port of New York under circumstances which have awak- 
ened the suspicions and complaints both of the French 
and Spanish ministers. The enclosed copies of the cor- 
respondence with the former will enable you to controul 
the effect of any misrepresentations which may be made 
of it to the Spanish government. 

For the proceedings of Congress and the measures 
depending before them I refer to the series of news- 
papers which are herewith conveyed. 

I have the honor to be with great respect, Sir, 

Your ob* ser. 

James Madison. 

George W. Erving, Esq r , 

Charge des Affaires of the U. States of America. 


March 1 st , 1806, Paris. 
The President of the U. States. 

Sir, — I should have written to you ere this had I 
have had any thing to suggest to you which I could think 
of any importance beyond those communications which 
I have had the honor to transmit to you thro' the Secre- 
tary of State. By these letters you will doubtless have 
seen the line of conduct I have pursued in reference to 
my health, to my mission, and to thcobject necessarily 
connected therewith. I have suffered, Sir, much per- 
plexity lest I might be led into some step which might 


disappoint your expectations, altho' under every circum- 
stance I felt confident, from the rectitude of your princi- 
ples, of that protection which your goodness and politeness 
have always afforded me. Permit me. however, to say 
that it gives me great satisfaction to find that the public 
interest has not in any case been impaired or impeded by 
the circumstance of my going to England, to which I was 
compelled from the necessity of the case ; and it has 
happily contributed to the restoration of my health, as 
well as to furnish me with very important facts and infor- 
mation refering to my mission which could not have been 
otherwise obtained. It gave me the opportunity of be- 
coming intimately acquainted with Mr. Monroe, and of 
acquiring a share in his confidence which from political 
as well as personal motives I shall endeavour to cultivate. 
It gave me the opportunity of seeing distinctly the meas- 
ures and views of the British cabinet, and the insidious 
policy it was pursuing in regard to the United States? 
which in different events than those which were promised 
from the late coalition would have shewn itself in the 
open plunder of our commerce, if not in a new attempt 
upon the independence of the U. States ; but the oppor- 
tunity for the attempt has failed and I trust forever, and 
she must now see her interest in a different policy. She 
must court our friendship, abandon her narrow specula- 
tive theories and must recur to the broad principles of 
reciprocity and mutual advantage as the best security 
of her own independence and commerce. The death of 
Mr. Pitt and the coalition of parties in consequence of it 
must very much tend to hasten the circumstance, and 
I hope Mr Monroe will be induced to keep his ground, 
and be the instrument of procuring indemnification for 
the late spoliations and of putting the commerce of the 
two countries upon a just and equitable footing. The 
same circumstance has proved no less beneficial in giving 
me the opportunity of seeing this gov* at an interesting 


period and to have a near view of the character who is 
at the head of it. Without entering into the history of 
the events which placed him there, his situation became 
not less critical from the art with which the coalition had 
been combined than from the force of which it consisted, 
and the mind is left quite astonished at the activity and 
skill by which it is in a manner broken up. It is a singu- 
lar fact, which refers to the principal and leading meas- 
ures of the British cabinet from the beginning of the 
French Revolution, that her policy has tended not less to 
increase the power and influence of France upon the 
continent than to destroy the force and effect of those 
civil principles which grew out of the revolution of the 
U. States, and to substitute in their stead an efficient but 
an almost unchecked military government which has been 
by fraud, craft, or necessity engrafted upon the French 
Revolution. The character who is at the head of it 
seems to have been made for the occasion and for the 
events which have raised him to the imperial diadem, con- 
centrating in his own person in a manner all the legisla- 
tive and executive powers of this vast empire. He found 
the Republic weak and indecisive, wanting force to repel 
its enemies from without, and wisdom, union, and energy 
to settle it within. This great and singular character 
has now become not less distinguished as the greatest 
general of his own or perhaps past ages, but he is found 
to possess great and uncommon ministerial talents and 
official qualifications ; and it is not improbable from his 
genius and intense application to business that he will be 
found to be as much more able in the cabinet than Rich- 
lieu, Sully or Colbert, as he has proved himself superior 
in the field to Turrenne, Conde, and Marshall Saxe. The 
same activity, order, and discipline which mark his military 
command and the composition of his armies distinguish 
his ministers in their arrangement, precision, and method. 
He requires digests of all their proceedings, and suffers 


no business to pass unnoticed or which he does not scru- 
tinize. Talents, so various, refering equally to principles 
and details, equally to subjects requiring much or little 
investigation, accompanied with such application, industry, 
and unwearied attention, make him at once the wonder, 
the dread, and the admiration of Europe. Had France 
have had fewer foreign enemies, his military talents 
might have been less conspicuous. Had she have had 
fewer difficulties to contend with, fewer divisions and less 
discord, or have been less exhausted in her resources or 
less depressed in her agriculture, manufactures, and com- 
merce, his reputation for restoring order, law, and gov*, 
and for reviving industry, economy, and enterprise would 
have never reached its present height ; and his gov* 
might be thought unstable and insecure from the volatile 
disposition and love of change in the French character. 
But there is little doubt that his gov* will prove as last- 
ing as his life, if it should not descend to the subordinate 
branches of his family. 

The effects of his late victories have already led to 
important political changes. All the states of Italy are 
in a manner reduced under his power, and his brother 
Joseph, it is said, will be shortly crowned King of the 
Sicilies. He has already divided the southern states of 
Germany into four principal divisions, Austria and Bohe- 
mia making one, which form a barrier to France upon 
that side, and even Prussia, it is said, has been obliged to 
yield some important points to meet his arrangements. 
Sweden and Denmark are too small to have any weight 
in the balance of his power ; and Russia seems to be too 
distant to oppose it with effect; so that England may 
be probably left single-handed and alone to contest it. 
"What direction English politics will take from the late 
changes in the ministry, and under existing circumstances 
whether they will tend to peace or to a more confirmed 
hostility, is not yet known. It is not probable that the 


measures of the ministry are yet digested, if their opin- 
ions are generally agreed upon and settled. 

With respect to the situation of Spain, it is so com- 
pletely under the control of this gov* that it has but the 
semblance of independence, and it may be considered as 
little more than a department of France with the Prince 
of Peace its prefect. Our disputes therefore with Spain 
may be considered as disputes with this gov*, of which if 
there was any doubt before, the late requested interposi- 
tion to this gov* to interfere with its good offices to settle 
the boundaries of Louisiana and to adjust the differences 
with the U. States, must put it beyond all question.. 
The secret propositions which have been made, and the 
individual speculations grounded upon them, have contrib- 
uted not a little to render the adjustment of our disputes 
precarious and uncertain. I believe it to be obvious that 
whilst France and Spain are at war with England, there 
is a greater probability of their listening to equitable 
arrangements than in a time of peace. Their colonies are 
then of little consequence to them, and their commerce 
which is carried on with them must be principally thro' 
neutrals. This circumstance gives value to the friendship 
of the U. States, and must excite alarm at the prospect 
of their hostility. I conceive, therefore, that our disputes 
with Spain should be pushed to an immediate adjustment, 
and that no time should be lost in bringing forward deci- 
sive propositions as the alternative of peace or war. In 
such case, I have no doubt our disputes will be honorably 
and satisfactorily adjusted. It is my opinion that the 
Floridas may be obtained for three or four millions of 
dollars, provided the war between France and England 
should continue and that time be given for the adjust- 
ment and payment of the claims of our citizens for spolia- 
tions, not barred, as is pretended, by the convention with 
France in the year 1800. The Rio Bravo should be fixed 
as the western boundary of Louisiana, altho' subject to be 


so modified if required as to be carried to the eastward, 
say, as far as the Collorado, upon the reduction of a spe- 
cific sum for the price of the Floridas. If this sum is 
made considerable, it will probably prove the means of 
settling the boundary in the River Bravo, for the reason 
that the sum to be paid for the Floridas will probably 
rest with France, which if. the w T ar continues will be 
much wanted, and in that case the scrupules of Spain in 
having the U. States so near a neighbour to their colony 
of Mexico, will be easily dispensed with in favor of a fair 
claim which the U. States have to the territory quite to 
that river. There still remains an indispensable stipula- 
tion, a sine qua non, which must be attended to ; even if 
the state of the treasury should not require it, which is 
that whatever sum shall be authorized to be given for the 
Floridas, that the same should be paid in the securities of 
the U. States. This circumstance, by affording an oppor- 
tunity for private speculations, will produce all the effect 
and influence of douceurs, which it is said are openly 
given and received by the agents of European gov ts . I 
shall endeavour to keep as clear as possible from meas- 
ures of this sort, being neither authorized by the gov 1 ", nor 
countenanced by you, Sir. 

I was introduced to the Emperor on the 23 rd ultimo, 
and was very cordially received. He asked if our affairs 
with Spain were yet adjusted, and whether Mr. Monroe 
was at Madrid. On my replying that Mr. Monroe was in 
England, he said quite loud, " II est un fort brave homme." 
A handsome compliment, to which it is well known here 
that Mr Monroe is justly entitled. Please to present my 
respectful regards to Mr. Madison, and to Gen 1 Dearborn, 
and to believe me, with the highest consideration and 
esteem, Sir, 

Your faithful & m° obed* serv*. 

(Signed) James Bowdoin". 




Paris, March 9th, 1806. 
The Hon. Jas. Madison. 

Sir, — I wrote to you on the 7 th & 27 th of December 
and on the 17 th ultimo, and still continue without your 
favors. I am now more particularly to acquaint you 
that my worthy and highly esteemed friend Mr. George 
Erving, Esq., of London, father of Geo. W. Erving, Esq., 
charge d'affaires of the U. States near the court of his 
Catholic Majesty, died on the 18 th January last, and that 
Mr. Erving received the melancholy intelligence of the 
event on the 21 st of Feb y , by which circumstance the 
necessity of the case has required him to quit Madrid 
to return to England. He left Madrid for Lisbon on the 
25 th of Feb y ; he wrote to you the day before, and ac- 
quainted you with the necessity he was under of return- 
ing to England for a short time. He has left Mr. Moses 
Young in charge of the affairs of the U. States, and pre- 
sented him to Mr. Cevallos, the minister for foreign af- 
fairs, and engaged him to acquaint me with occurrences 
of any consequence which might take place. 

As the adjustment of our differences with Spain has 
been committed to the interposition of this gov*, Mr. 
Tallerand, as I am told by Gen 1 Armstrong, is waiting 
for dispatches from the French minister to the U. States 
for information respecting them ; but I suppose he is 
rather expecting the result of the inofficial propositions 
sent by Gen 1 Armstrong to the President. It is these 
inofficial propositions, bottomed in my opinion upon no 
correct principles, refering to the interest or policy of the 
U. States, which have completely tied my hands, and 
placed me in a disagreable situation between duty and 
etiquette, the one prompting me to measures which my 
judgment approved, whilst I am restrained by the other 
for the sake of keeping up a friendly correspondence with 


Gen 1 Armstrong. I was presented to the Emperor on the 
23 rd ult° and was graciously received, but I have not as 
yet seen Mr. Tallerand or been introduced to him, altho' 
it is more than six weeks since Gen 1 Armstrong and I 
sent him our cards. I acquaint you with this fact, as 
I shall with every other of any importance, refering to 
my mission. I have been anxiously desirous of receiv- 
ing your instructions, but I conclude from your letter to 
Mr. Erving of Nov 1 st , and from the critical situation of 
our affairs with England, that the President has thought 
it best to hang up our disputes with Spain by suspending 
the negotiations untill our affairs with England should be 
better explained. 

Please to present my most respectful regards to the 
President, to whom I had the honor to write on the 1 st 
instant. Please also to present my respectful compli- 
ments to Gen 1 Dearborn, and believe me, with great 
esteem and attachment, very respectfully, Sir, 
Your faithful & obed* serv*. 

James Bowdoin. 


13 th March, 1806. Washington. 

Sir, — As soon as any authority at Paris shall be ready 
on the part of Spain, you will enter on the subject (of 
your commission), and press it to a conclusion with as 
much celerity and decision as circumstances will justify. 

The terms stated as your guide require little explana- 
tion more than accompanies the several articles. (See 
the project of a conventional arrangement with explana- 
tions.) The object with the United States is to secure 
West Florida, which is essential to their interests, and to 
obtain East Florida, which is important to them ; pro- 

* Printed from a copy in the handwriting of General Armstrong. — Eds. 




curing at the same time equitable indemnities from Spain 
for the injuries for which she is answerable; to all which 
the proposed exchange of territory & arrangement of 
western boundary may be made subservient. 

The desire manifested by the H. of Representatives in 
the Resolution herewith enclosed, that such exchange 
and arrangement may be found sufficient without any 
price in money, will engage all your attention and exer- 
tions. If the exchange stated in the Resolution (with 
the Sabine River for our western boundary below the 
ridge dividing the waters running into the Mississippi 
from those running into the Gulph westward of the 
mouth of that river) can be obtained, the exchange will 
be satisfactory, 'especially if accompanied with a reason- 
able provision for the indemnities due from Spain to the 
citizens of the United States. If the exchange can be 
obtained even without this last provision, or without in- 
cluding the territory eastward of the Perdido or any 
pecuniary payment for territory westward of it, it is not 
to be rejected ; but in that case it will be extremely desir- 
able to make the authorised establishment of an interval 
of territory (not to be settled for a given period) sub- 
servient to a provision for indemnities. 

In order to determine the price and the payment to 
Spain for her cession of territory, and to provide indemni- 
ties for the spoliations and other injuries for which Spain 
is responsable, you will add to the articles sent others 
proper on those subjects. For the several modifications 
which will best comport with the conveniency of our 
treasury & the sentiments of the Secretary of that De- 
partment I refer to copies of a letter & paper from him 
herewith inclosed ; stating to you generally for your 
guide : 

1 st , that the sum to be made payable to Spain for her 
cession is not to exceed five millions of dollars. 

2 d , that as little as possible and in no event more than 


two millions are to be paid prior to the delivery of 
possession or the ratification. 

3 d , that as ample a provision as possible be made for 
indemnities either by constituting a board of com 3 for 
settling them or by a sum in gross sufficient to cover 
their probable amount, (which is not less than four mill 3 
of dollars) & distributable by the United States to such 
claimants and in such proportions as may be decided 
under their authority. 

This last mode of providing for the object will be the 
best if the sum in gross be equal to the amount of claims 
likely to be allowed by a board of commissioners. 

It is particularly desirable that in defining the cases to 
be indemnified the terms should be such as will embrace 
those where French subjects or citizens as well as those 
where Spanish subjects were the wrong-doers. If a sum 
in gross be stipulated, it may be expected that Spain will 
not object to a definition which will authorise the U. S. to 
apply it to both cases, especially if terms be chosen which 
will not expressly designate the contested French cases. 

In defining the cases it will be proper to have in view 
those of every description which exist, more particularly 
depredations on the high seas & unjust or unlawful 
injuries within Spanish jurisdiction, whether in Old Spain 
or her colonies ; in a word, all injurious acts either to the 
United States or to their citizens for which the Spanish 
nation is responsable according to the principles of justice, 
equity, treaty or the law of nations. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with great respect & 

Your most obed* servt. 

(Signed) James Madison. 

Gen. Armstrong. 

P. S. Particular care must be taken in case a conven- 
tion shall be made which does not provide for the 
spoliations, or for the portion of them subsequent to the 


convention of 1802, to guard against an abandonment 
either express or constructive of the just claims of our 
citizens on that account. 

I am, &c. 

(Signed) James Madison. 

Gen. Armstrong. 



Treasury Department, Washington, 
March 18 th , 1806. 

Gentlemen, — Having been directed by the President 
of the United States to place at your disposal two 
millions of dollars under the authority vested in him 
by the Act entitled " An Act making provision for 
defraying any extraordinary expenses attending the inter- 
course between the United States and foreign nations " 
passed on the 13 th of February 1806, I have the honor 
to enclose a power under the seal of this office authoriz- 
ing you to draw two million five hundred thousand 
guilders current money of Holland and equal to one 
million of dollars on the bankers of the United States 
at Amsterdam, and the other million of dollars on the 
Secretary of the Treasury at Washington. 

An open letter to the said bankers is also enclosed, 
which you will be pleased to transmit to them only 
in case you may find it necessary to draw on them for 
that sum, as I have not thought it proper to give them 
any previous information on the subject, and have only 
placed sufficient funds in their hands without apprising 
them of the object. It will therefore be necessary that 
you make arrangements with them respecting the manner 
in which you will draw ; but I believe that they will 
be able to answer your drafts even if they were at ten 
days sight. It is proper for me to add that you are 
not authorized to draw partially on that fund, nor for 

1806.] ALBERT GALLATIN. 301 

any other object than that pointed out to you by the 
Secretary of State. And it will be necessary that you 
should inform me as early as possible whether you will 
draw on Amsterdam or not ; as the extent of the re- 
mittance to be made by this department on account of the 
foreign debt will depend on the knowledge of that fact. 

In relation to the drafts on the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury for the other million of dollars, you will be pleased 
to observe that they must not be at shorter sights than is 
mentioned in the power, that they must be expressed in 
dollars, and that they must not be negotiated under par. 
Letters of advice must accompany every sett, and in 
addition thereto, a triplicate list of all the bills should 
at the same time be transmitted. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Gentlemen, 
Your most obed. servant. 

Albert Gallatin. 

Their Excellencies John Armstrong & James Bowdoin, 

Commiss" Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary for settling 
all matters of difference between the United States & the 
Government of Spain. 


Treasury Department, Washington, 
March 18, 1806. 

Gentlemen, — In my three letters of the 1 st & 13 th 
ins* and of this day, I enclosed remittances amounting 
altogether to two millions five hundred & ninety-seven 
thousand six hundred & sixty guilders & eleven stivers, 
which remittances were made on account of the principal 
and interest of loans obtained by the United States in 
Holland, but subject nevertheless to such other dispo- 
sition as I might think proper to direct. 

I have «now the honor to inform you, that in con- 
formity with orders received from the President of the 
United States, I have this day authorized John Armstrong, 


Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris, 
and James Bowdoin, Minister of the United States at 
Madrid (who have been appointed Commissioners Pleni- 
potentiary & Extraordinary to adjust all the differences 
between the said States and the Government of Spain) 
jointly, or in case of the death of one of them the sur- 
vivor, to draw on you for two millions five hundred 
thousand guilders current money of Holland. You will 
therefore be pleased to honor their joint or in case of 
death the survivor's drafts on you to that amount ; and 
as soon as you shall have received notice of their inten- 
tion thus to draw to give me immediate information, 
in order that I may have time to replace the funds 
necessary to meet the demands payable at Amsterdam 
in 1807, on account of the principal & interest of the 
loans obtained by the United States in Holland. 

From my view of the funds heretofore placed in your 
hands, I presume that you may honor the drafts of those 
gentlemen even before the time when the remittances 
abovementioned shall become due. But in order to 
prevent any inconvenience or disappointment Mess rs 
Armstrong & Bowdoin have been requested to write to 
you and to make in concert the necessary arrangements 
on that subject. 

I have the honor to be very respectfully, Gentlemen, 
Your most obed. serv*. 

Albert Gallatin. 

Mess" Wilhem & Jan Willink, N. & I. & R. Van Staphorst, 
Merchants, Amsterdam. 


Department of State, 18 March, 1806. 

Sir, — I have received successively your letters bearing 
date from the 18 of June to the 31 st of July. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 303 

The circumstances both personal and public under 
which you proceeded from Spain to England, without 
repairing to Madrid, fully justified your conduct in the 
view of the President, and he has equally approved the 
motives for making Paris the place of your waiting for 
his further instructions. 

These instructions are comprized in the dispatch of the 
13 th of March, 1806, now committed to the bearer M r 
Skipwith,. for M r Armstrong and yourself, and which 
associates you with him in a negociation with Spain 
expected to take place under the auspices of the French 

Should the negociation succeed, the President wishes 
you forthwith to proceed to Spain, as originally contem- 
plated. Should it fail, or take any turn not absolutely 
decisive, it is his intention that you should await the in- 
structions which such a posture of things may be thought 
to require. 

I have the honor to remain, with sentiments of great 
respect & consideration, Sir, 

Your most obed fc humble servant. 

James Bowdoin, Esq*. JaMES MADISON. 

Minister Plenipotentiary, & c , & c . 


[Paris, March, 1806.] 
Geo. W. Ervixg, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — ... A variety of circumstances sin- 
gular & unprecedented made me hope that you w d have 
passed thro Paris on your return to England ; these prin- 
cipally respect a systemized management w ch has for its 
object the absorption of y e powers of my commission, and 
I was in hopes that you might become acquainted with 
the means to carry an end this honourable purpose. But 

* The omitted part of this letter relates to purely personal matters. — Eds. 


I trust if the governm* pursues y e line of conduct w ch must 
grow out of y e commission with w ch I am charged that 
this kind of management will be found as ineffectual as 
it is foolish. I have written to M r Monroe as I did to you 
when at Madrid, & have stated opinions to him grounded 
upon y e best facts I c d procure at y e time without attend- 
ing to their connection. This I have. done that M r Monroe 
might know y e state of things as they occurred. M r Monroe 
will doubtless shew you y e copy of my letters to M r Madi- 
son of y e 7 th of Dec. & 17 th of Feb., w ch I sh d have sent to you 
at Madrid had I have had a safe opportunity, & I here- 
with enclose you a copy of a late letter I have written to 
y e Presid*, w ch you may shew also to M r Monroe, with 
whom I beg you to confer fully & freely upon the subject 
of our affairs with Spain, my present situation & y e con- 
duct & measures I ought to pursue under existing cir- 
cumstances. I apprehend that it will be y e policy of our 
gov* to hang up our disputes with Spain for a time at 
least, untill our affairs with G. Britain shall be fully ex- 
plained ; and perhaps it is in consequence of this policy 
being adopted by our gov* that I have not rec d instruc- 
tions from M r Madison. If a satisfactory adjustm* takes 
place with Engl d a very decisive tone may be taken with 
Spain, or in case of a rupture with England an arrange- 
ment with Spain upon easy terms will be y e necessary 
consequence. I conceive it therefore very important to 
be acquainted with y e state of our affairs with Engl d , & I 
beg you to let me know from time to time what they 
promise. I have not yet seen M r Tallerand, & from what 
appears it is not likely I shall. I sent him my card with 
Gen 1 Armstrong's about six weeks since, & I was taught 
to think that we sh d receive an invitation to dine & that 
other civilities would follow of course ; but no notice has 
been taken. The circumstance has excited some surprize. 
Prince Masserano expressed it to me a few days since, 
M r Pichon & others & it has been suggested that I sh d have 

1806. J JAMES BOWDOIN. 305 

called upon M r Tallerand with Gen. Armstrong upon a par- 
ticular notice, but I have submitted to y e General's eti- 
quette in this & in every thing hitherto respecting my 
conduct to this gov*. The Gen 1 , I believe, is in no habits 
of acquaintance with y e ministers of this gov\ none of 
them visit him or seem to notice him ; & except his trans- 
actions upon y e subject of claims for spoliations, w ch has 
compelled to an acquaintance with the minister of y e pub- 
lic treasury, he seems to have no knowledge of them ; so 
that you may see without much surprize that I have 
not much political consideration here. I have written 
to M r Monroe a few loose observations respecting y e 
commercial part of a treaty with England ; after I had 
written them I had doubts upon the propriety of sending 
them ; I did it however with the best views & intentions 
& in consequence of M r Monroe's having suggested to me 
that he sh d be glad to receive from me any opinions 
w ch might occur to me concerning our affairs with Engl d , 
& I was y e more readily led into this step to induce his 
opinions upon our affairs with Spain. You will observe 
among your father's acc t3 that he rec d two bills of ex- 
change from M r Winthrop drawn in my favour, one for a 
thousand pounds sterling & y e other for five hundred 
pounds, the first had been paid & y e other in the course of 
payment; as appears by his last letter to me of y e 22 d of 
Dec. last : your father lent me two hundred pounds in 
Oct by giving me his check upon his bankers to that 
amount, at w ch time he told me our acc ts were about bal- 
anced. As I mean to draw this bal ce , except one hundred 
pounds, out of Engl d I shall be obliged to you to acquaint 
me whether I can draw upon you, & to what am , or 
whether it w d be best to have y e money sent here. Bills 
on London are quoted at 23 f. 80 centimes y e pound sterl g . 
If it is yr. intention to settle in y e U. S., w ch I presume 
to be yr. determination, let me advise you to consolidate 

yr. property & get it into good hands there as far as pos- 



sible. I think the dangers England is threatened with 
from without, & y e effects to be apprehended from an 
undue circulation of paper, will make it prudent to trans- 
fer your property to some other situation. From my 
opinion of your father's property it must be very con- 
siderable & perfectly competent to every thing a reason- 
able man can wish or desire, & if you take y e advice of a 
friend, who has a little experience upon this subject, you 
will avoid all speculations with a view to accumulation ; 
you will find the legal interest of money upon good secu- 
rities, or investments in the public stocks of y e U. S. for 
your productive capital ; and y' e lands of y e U. S. from 
their gradual increase in value will be y e best plan of ap- 
propriating such sums as you may not require for your 
immediate support ; but be advised and have nothing to 
do with merchandizing or the purchasing of goods or ves- 
sells with a view to accumulation ; you may depend that 
to engage in projects of this sort at this time, altho I 
have a good opinion of y r intelligence & activity, will 
oblige you to depend upon others, will scatter your prop- 
erty, & perhaps put it forever out of y r power to invest it 
in that way, to enable you to sit down & enjoy a respect- 
able independence. A man who is not & cannot be 
at y e beginning & end of active commercial concerns 
ought never to be engaged in them ; and our country 
does not give an instance of a man's giving his name or 
capital to a commercial concern without personal atten- 
tion when it has succeeded & been productive of profit, 
but examples of great loss or ruin from this circumstance 
are both frequent & numerous. I take it for granted that 
as soon as you shall have arranged y r affairs, we shall 
have y e pleasure of seeing you here, and if you can ac- 
quaint me when that will be likely I will write to you 
concerning some things w cb I shall stand in need of. Ac- 
cept my best wishes for your health & prosperity & if 
there is any thing by w ch I can be serviceable, I beg you 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 307 

to command me. Make my best regards to M r Mon- 
roe & all his family, in w ch I am joined by M rs B., my 
neice, & M r Sullivan, who also desire their regards to you, 
and believe me, with much esteem & very respectfully, 

Yours, &o\ jAMES BowDom . 

P. S. M rs Bowdoin wrote M rs Monroe a short time 
since : as my neice did to Miss Monroe. Please to give 
our compliments to Gen 1 Lyman & his family. 

P. S. I gave M r J. Sullivan a mem of a few things to 
be procured for me in England. I shall be glad you w d 
take charge of them & bring them with you here. 

Mar. 21 s . t M r Young has written to me concerning his 
salary, i. e., on y e 3 d ins*, a copy of my reply is herewith 
enclosed; pray instruct me what are your expectations 
upon this subject. 

G. W. Erving, Esq? 

My dear Sir, — I will not omit a good opportunity of 
writing to you, altho I have nothing of particular impor- 
tance to communicate. We still remain here without let- 
ters, news or dispatches from our gov*, or from my 
particular friends. The same foolish, senseless system 
of reserve from our General still continues ; & also y e 
same coolness & neglect from M r T. That it is intended 
to draw a sum of money from y e U. S. I daily grow more & 
more suspicious. There is certainly no other way to account 
for a very observable neglect towards me in y e members 
of this gov* ; besides w ch the expences seem to be so ex- 
cessive as to require not only all the ordinary means of 
taxation, but some of the extraordinary : the beautifying 
of y e capital by pulling down whole streets of houses, y e 
erecting, rebuilding, & repairing of palaces, the building of 


bridges, y e cutting of canals in every part of y e country, 
together with every other kind of expensive improvem*, 
superadded to the expences of y e war and military estab- 
lishments w ch are directed not less to a superiority in land 
forces upon the continent than to an eventual superiority 
at sea, must require money & means beyond y e visible 
resources of France & her dependencies. I have hitherto 
thot the Emperor too politic & too much the friend of the 
growing prosperity of y e U. S. to contemplate them as 
necessary to his power or resources, and I still hope that 
it is y e case. But the increase of our commerce & wealth 
added to the ease with w ch Louisiana was paid for, it is to 
be feared, may have excited a disposition towards the U. S. 
w ch may not be easily allayed ; besides w ch it is generally 
said that the ministers of this gov* are not friendly to y e 
republican sentiments & opinions of y e Presid*, but affect 
to be better pleased with federal politics, & y e men who 
support them than with their opponents. These senti- 
ments are known to have been expressed by M r T., who is 
said to hold in contempt the talents of our country gen- 
erally, & says if we have any, they are to be found among 
the federalists: other functionaries of y e gov*, it is said, hold 
the same language ; so that I think the prospect from this 
gov* to adjust our disputes w th Spain do not promise much, 
let our gov* give any instructions w ch might be thot reason- 
able. I am impatiently waiting to hear from y e U. S. & 
to know my ultimate destination. When I think of y e 
length of time since I left America & y e few letters I have 
rec d , I confess that I do not feel perfectly satisfied. Not- 
withstanding I have been nearly six months in Paris, & 
have written numerous letters to our friend M r Monroe, I 
have as yet only rec d one short letter from him. I am 
sensible there have been but few opp ties of writing confi- 
dentially. Pray write me by every opp ty , & acquaint me 
with y e latest intelligence from our gov* & my particular 
friends. Present my respectful regards to M r Monroe & 

180C] FULWAR SKIPWITn. . 309 

to his worthy family, in w ch I am joined by M rs B., my 
neice, & M r S., who desire also to be particularly remem- 
bered to you. Believe me always with very great regard, 
d r Sir, very sincerely yours, &c. 

Paris, April 13, 1806. 

I wrote to you by M r Bankhead y e 18 th ultimo. 

P. S. Please to give my complim ts to Gen 1 Lyman ; 
M rs B. & my neice desire their respects to the young 


Paris, 12 th June, 1806. 

Dear Sir, — Agreeably to the request contained in 
your letter of the [blank] ins* I shall endeavor to state 
in substance the conversations of M r [blank] with me rela- 
tive to the negociations depending here on the subject of 
our misunderstanding with Spain. 

This gentleman, after some general observations expres- 
sive of his great attachment to the U. S. (he is by birth an 
American) & his persuasion of the form & principles of 
our government being held in great detestation by the 
Emperor, said that knowing how sincerely desirous I 
must be of seeing our differences with Spain terminated 
& thereby our peace with France preserved, he had come 
tho' unauthorized to suggest to me two avenues thro 
which I might derive important information of the dis- 
positions & intentions of both the S. &. F. governments, 
& moreover would be able to contribute much by my own 
personal standing here to accelerate the attainment of the 

* This letter is not signed, but it is indorsed by Mr. Bowdoin " M r Skipwith's Letter." 
Fulwar Skipwith was a Virginian by birth, a kinsman of Mrs. Thomas Jefferson. He went 
to Paris in 1794, as private secretary to Mr. Monroe, and in the following year was consul- 
genera] at Paris, and afterward agent for the American claims against France. He was in- 
volved in frequent troubles growing out of his financial transactions, and was defendant, in 
1805, in a suit in the French courts brought by Major Mountflorence. He finally returned 
to this country under a cloud in 1809. Shortly afterward he bought an estate in Williams- 
burg, Virginia, but soon removed to Louisiana, where he owned a large and valuable tract 
of land. In 1814 he was living on his estate at Baton Eouge, and was president of the 
Senate. He was afterward Governor of the State. — Eds. 


two great objects of our government, which he presumed 
were, the purchase of the Floridas & the fixing our limits 
W. of the Mississippi. 

I asked M r D [blank'] what those two avenues were, & by 
what means he supposed that my particular agency in 
them could produce an useful effect. 

He observed l stly that by speaking with M r Koux, the 

homme d'affaire of M r T d, with whom he knew I was 

personally acquainted, I might immediately open through 
him a private, safe, & direct communication with that 
minister ; & that he wished me to name a day in which 
I would consent to dine with M* Doyen (banker) his 
father-in-law, with whom I should meet if I chose it, M r 
~Es[blank], the only confidential political, tho not osten- 
sible, agent at Paris of the Spanish cabinet, that if I felt 
an objection to communicate there & then with M r E [blank] 
I might make M r Doyen the organ of communication be- 
tween us, he was his banker & confidential friend. 

2 dly . With respect to my agency in the business ; that 
this appeared the more necessary because some individu- 
als were already fabricating projects which might deceive, 
or at least might not be intitled to confidence, whilst any 
thing thro' a person situated as I was, coming imme- 
diately from the U. S., & suspected of no unfair or im- 
proper motive, would be respected & confided in. 

I begged time to make my own reflections on the pro- 
priety of my becoming in any shape an intermediary 
agent of intercourse with or for any person in these 
matters, as also of my dining under the circumstances of 
the thing with M r Doyen. 

You will remember, Sir, that I lost no time in disclosing 
to you the particulars of this conversation. You were of 
opinion that I might keep my ears open to communica- 
tions of that nature, but that I ought not to go to any 
of the parties mentioned in quest of them. 

It happened that on the day following I met M r [blank] 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 311 

in the street: I accordingly declined accepting his invita- 
tion to dine with M r Doyen ; but remarked that if he or 
M r ~E [blank] had any thing to communicate to me, I 
would be always ready to receive them at my office. 

Two days after this recontre, M r D [blank] paid me 
another visit. He commenced a conversation by asking 
me if I had conferred with you on the topic of his & my 
former interviews ; to this I gave an evasive answer ; he 
then expressed his desire that I should, and added that 
tho neither M T ~E [blank] or M r Doyen would call on me 
they would be very glad to receive either directly from 
yourself or through me propositions, to which prompt & 
decided answers would be obtained from the chif source. 

The result of this conference I immediately imparted to 
you, & on learning from you that you considered it inju- 
dicious & improper to enter into any communications, 
except with the head of the suitable department, or with 
persons duly authorized, I did in my next & last inter- 
view with M r [blank] intimate the same to him, since 
which he appears to have discontinued his visits to me. 


Paris, June 12 th , 1806. 
G. W. Erving, Esq. 

Dear Sir, — I am to acknowledge the rec* of y r favor of 
y e 4 th of Apr. & 5 of May ; y e latter I rec d yesterday. I wrote 
you on y e 29 Apr. & 6 May, w ch I am sorry to observe you 
did not rec e before you quitted Lond for Madrid ; or I think 
you must have taken Paris upon your return. M r Skipw th 
brot me a short letter from M r Madison, approving my 
conduct in going to Lond & stay at Paris, & referring me 
to a commission associating me w th Gen. Armstrong, for 
y e purpose of treating with ministers to be appointed by 
Spain relative to the territories, &c a , & to spoliations; & 




prohibiting me from further communication with y e Span- 
ish gov* until y e arrangem ts contemplated sh d have their 
full effect. The commission is jointly & severally, &c a , 
& y e instructions have relation to this distribution of 
powers, w ch in my opinion is very ill suited to y e present 
state of our affairs. My communications w th Gen. A. are 
carried on by writing ; & no harmony subsists between 
us; particulars I cannot commit to writing. I have sent 
M r Sullivan to Engl d to let M r Monroe know y e state of 
things, & I have written very fully to y e President. It 
is really unfortunate that you did not take Paris in yr. 
way to Madrid, as you must now rec e yr. information 
under other disadvantages than those of my being a 
party. M r Tallerand is made a Prince & holds his office 
as minister no longer than a proper man can be found 
to fill y e office of minister of the interior, to replace M. 
De Champeney, who will in that case become minister 
for foreign affairs. If this change shall break up the 
intrigues of the stock-jobbers thro that office, it will be 
very fortunate ; the affairs of our country are much em- 
barrassed & a situation more perplexing than the Presi- 
dent's can hardly be imagined. It is owing to y e want 
of decision & not meeting y e situation of our affairs with 
a becoming spirit in proper season, that is at the close of 
M r Monroe's negotiations at Madrid, that is y e source of 
our embarrassm ts with France & Engl d . With v e latter, 
I hope our differences are in a state of adjustm*, but y e 
last acc ts from N. York give us very unpleasant acc ts of 
y e conduct of y e British ships of war before that port. 
The Argos of this day & y e Gazette de France of yester- 
day will give you y e particulars. I have y e opinion, that x 
y e British cabinet must yield to a just & equitable ar- 
range m* w th y e U. S. if we have spirit to require it: no 
ministry will be able or willing to take y e responsibility 
of repealing y e Navigation Acts & other restrictions upon 
our commerce but when y e most obvious necessity shall 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 313 

require it, & y e present is a time when no principles sh d be 
relinquished on our part. The English, shut out from 
almost every port upon the continent, & having in a 
manner but one principal market remaining for her 
manufactures, is a state of things w ch must make her 
yield to equitable propositions, & I hope none others will 
be listened to. M r W. Pinkney of Maryl d is associated 
with M r Monroe & it is s d is momently expected in Engl d . 
Nothing is likely to be done here. M r Gallatin's ar- 
rangem ts for paying for the Floridas do not admit of 
jobbing ; & I suppose that some scheme is devising to 
see if our gov* will not disgrace itself by a further accom- 
modation to y e views of y e stock jobbers. Depend upon 
it that things are ripening to a very important crisis; 
and y e U. S. will in spite of their apathy be brot to take 
very decided measures. The Prince of Peace has got, 
I understand, a real minister here, the P. of M. is said to 
be only y e ostensible one : his name is Isquierdo ; en- 
deavour to know his character, influence, & situation. 
Whether he is meant to check or to encrease the depend- 
ence upon this gov* great pains have been taken to draw 
me into a private communication ; but I have refused all 
except with y e minister. Sound the Spanish gov* (re- 
member I consider nothing official in sounding) upon the 
question of exch a of territory without price, i. e., part of 
Louisiana ag st East & W. Florida, [acre ?] for acre, mak- 
ing the river Bravo or Del Norte y e western boundary of 
Louisiana ; or how it w d answer to bring the boundary 
of Louisiana with full right to settle immediately to y e 
eastern bank of that river, upon an equitable considera- 
tion being given for the territory to y e westward of it. 
I gave M r Sullivan an order to take up y e bal ce of my acc° 
except one hund d pounds in y e hands of y r bankers, for 
w ch I am sorry since rec g yr. last letter ; it is too late to 
remedy it, but if you shall have occasion for a sum of 
money for a time, I have several hund d pounds at yr. 


service. I herw th enclose you two letters, one from M r 
Barlow & y e other from M r Winthrop. I have two pack- 
ets, w ch I suppose contain books, w ch I shall send to you 
by y e first private opp ty . It is desired that they may not 
be forwarded by post. M rs Bowdoin & Sarah desire to 
be remembered to you. Believe, always, with great re- 
gards, d r Sir, yours, &c% &c\ 

P. S. Please to notice to M r Young that I have duly 
rec d his letters of y e 5 & 19 th of May, & had they have 
required answers, or if I had have been less occupied, I 
w d have replied to him. Pray give my complim ts to him. 

Yours &c a . 

G. W. Erving, Esq. Paris ' June 30 > 1806 ' 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you on the 12 th ins*, since 
w ch I have rec d yrs. of y e 4 th , & yesterday that of y e 15 th 
ins fc , the first announcing yr. safe arrival at Madrid in 
good health ; & y e last stating a number of interesting 
facts respecting y e pending negociation. I think your 
information respecting y e opinions of are very im- 
portant, as they have confirmed rue in the propriety of 
a line of conduct I am determined to pursue at every 
hazard. I wish you to be critically mindful of 1501's* 
letters, to procure me copies of them, or at least to give 
me their general contents & also M r T's answer, as well 
as his letters to y e Spanish gov*. In short, every step w ch 
is taken by 1501 or T. or by y e Spanish gov* cannot fail 
to be highly interesting, & I wish you to be as particular 
as possible. The great '& interesting questions are, 
will Spain part w th East & West Florida ? at what 
price? will she give y e Floridas ag sfc a part of Louisiana 

* General Armstrong's. — Eds. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 315 

without money, leaving y e Mississippi & all y e waters 
running into it in y e possession of y e CJ. S.? If not, will 
she agree to y e boundary of y e river Brave or Del Norte ? 
If she wishes it to y e eastw d of that river, say y e Col- 
lorado, will she give an equivalent therefor within East 
& West Florida, & where will she propose that equiva- 
lent ? and in such case what will be her demand for 
the remainder of y e Floridas ? What will she do as to 
indemnification ? Will she pay for French spoliations 
in Spanish ports? Will she pay for injuries done by 
her ships of war & cruizers in Europe, and in the West 
Indies ? Will she pay for condemnations for illicit trade 
in her South American ports ? If not, generally, what 
exceptions will she make ? Will she not pay for y e 
whalemen condemned who may have availed themselves 
of a permission to enter thereat & may have attempted 
to sell merchandize to a trifling am but whose voyages 
c d have no views to a breach of y e laws of Spain ? Will 
she justify y e condemnation of vessells w ch have gone 
to Spanish ports at y e instigation of y e gov rs or some 
principal officers of y e Spanish colonies ? How shall y e 
am of spoliations be ascertained ? Whether by a board 
of comm 8 as under y e British treaty ? or will she give a 
sum in specie, or bills upon the colonies & leave its 
distribution among y e claim* 3 to y e gov* of y e U. S.? 
This last mode w d be y e least exceptionable, provided y e 
sum be adequate, i. e., about five milions of dollars, 
w ch if p d in bills ought to be p d w th a discount. With 
respect to y e sum to be given for y e Floridas, this must be 
governed by y e westerly line of Louisiana, & y e sacrifices 
necessary to be made to accommodate y e Span h gov*. 
But y e best mode is to give part of Louisiana ag st East 
& West Floridas without price. This was strongly 
recommended by y e H se of Represent 8 , & what w d be 
most consonant to y e policy of Spain, if uninfluenced by 
y e views or designs of this gov*. If you could sound y e 


Spanish gov*, & procure its opinion upon this point 
taking y e Collorado or y e Sabine rivers for the boundary, 
or any point between y e two, or could procure its opinions 
upon any of y e other points herein suggested, you w d 
render an important service. Please to inform me 
whether y e Spanish gov* means to refer their disputes 
to this gov* or to authorize commiss rs to meet those of y e 
U. S.? With respect to 1501, he & I have no communi- 
cation except by writing ! he holds it that all communica- 
tions with this gov* belong to him exclusively, & he means 
to make them without my council or advice. I shall 
make no comment. I have sent M r Sullivan to Engl d to 
confer w* h M r Monroe, who, poor man, seems to have his 
calumniators & enemies, & I fear does not find an ade- 
quate support from y e administration. It seems as if M r 
1401* was nearly abandoned by his friends, & that parties 
in y e U. S. were amalgamating & forming new confedera- 
cies, on w ch to erect a new administration, to become in its 
turn a new subject for opposition & cabal : and this must 
be expected as long as y e constitution continues to be exe- 
cuted upon its present free principles. The emmissaries 

from M r T 's office, the money jobbers, &c a , insist upon 

it that nothing will be done. It is said that M r T 

is expected to resign his office as soon as y e Emperor can 
find a person to fill his place : this may prove a fortunate 
circumstance both for Spain & y e U. S. Write to me as 
often as you can. I sent a couple of books forwarded 
from Washington for you by M r De Bourke, but he will 
not be at Madrid untill Sep* or Oct . Enclosed you will 
have a rec* for y e Gazzette de France : it is s d to have 
y e best information respecting y e affairs of y e U. S. M rs 
B. & Sarah desire to be remembered to you. I shall write 
you as soon as M r S. returns, who I daily expect. Be- 
lieve, always, with great esteem [&] regard, very sincerely 

* Izquierdo. — Eds. 



Washington, July 10, 1806. 

Dear Sir, — I believe that when you left America the 
invention of the polygraph had not yet reached Boston. 
It is for copying with one pen while you write with the 
other & without the least additional embarrasrnent or 
exertion to the writer. I think it the finest invention of 
the present age, & so much superior to the copying ma- 
chine that the latter will never be continued a day by any 
one who tries the polygraph. It was invented by a M r 
Hawkins of Frankford near Philadelphia, who is now in 
England turning it to good account. Knowing that you 
are in the habit of writing much, I have flattered myself 
that I could add acceptably to your daily convenience by- 
presenting you with one of these delightful machines. I 
have accordingly had one made, & to be certain of its 
perfection I have used it myself some weeks, & have the 
satisfaction to find it the best one I have ever tried ; & 
in the course of two years daily use of them I have had 
opportunities of trying several. As a secretary which cop- 
ies for us what we write without the power of revealing 
it, I find it a most precious possession to a man in public 
business. I inclose directions for unpacking & using 
the machine when you receive it ; but the machine itself 
must await a special & sure conveyance under the care of 
some person going to Paris. It is ready packed and shall 
go by the first proper conveyance. 

As we heard two or three weeks ago of the safe arrival 
of the Hornet at Lorient, we are now anxiously waiting 
to learn from you the first impressions on her mission. 
If you can succeed in procuring us Florida, & a good 
western boundary, it will fill the American mind with joy. 
It will secure to our fellow citizens one of their most 
ardent wishes, a long peace with France & Spain ; for be 
assured that the object of war with them and alliance 


with England, which at the last session of Congress drew 
off from the Republican band about half a dozen of its 
members, is universally reprobated by our native citizens 
from North to South. I have never seen the nation 
stand more firm to its principles, or' rally so firmly 
to its constituted authorities & in reprobation of the 
opposition to them. With England I think we shall 
cut off the resource of impressing our seamen to fight her 
battles & establish the inviolability of our flag in its 
commerce with her enemies. We shall thus become 
what we sincerely wish to be, honestly neutral & truly 
useful to both belligerents ; to the one by keeping open a 
market for the consumption of her manufactures while 
they are excluded from all the countries under the power 
of her enemy ; to the other by securing for her a safe 
carriage of all her productions, metropolitan or colonial, 
while their own means are restrained by their enemy 
and may therefore be employed in other useful pursuits. 
We are certainly more useful friends to France & Spain 
as neutrals than as allies. I hope they will be sensible of 
it, and by a wise removal of all grounds of future misun- 
derstanding to another age, enable you to present to us 
such an arrangement as will insure to our fellow citizens 
long & permanent peace & friendship with them. With 
respect to our western boundary your instructions will be 
your guide. I will only add as a comment to them, that 
we are attached to the retaining the Bay of S* Bernard, 
because it was the first establishment of the unfortunate 
La Sale, was the cradle of Louisiana, and more incontest- 
ably covered and conveyed to us by France under that 
name than any other spot in the country. This will be 
secured to us by taking for our western boundary the 
Guadaloupe, & from its head round the sources of all 
waters eastward of it to the highlands embracing the 
waters running into the Missisipi. However, all these 
things I presume will be settled before you receive this ; 

1806.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 319 

& I hope so settled as to give peace & satisfaction to us 

Our crops of wheat are greater than have ever been 
known & are now nearly secured. A caterpillar gave 
for a while great alarm, but did little injury. Of tobacco 
not half a crop has been planted for want of rain, & 
even this half with cotton & Indian corn have yet many 
chances to run. 

This summer will place our harbours in a situation 
to maintain peace and order within them ; the next, 
or certainly the one following that, will so provide 
them with gunboats & common batteries as to be hors 
d'insulte. Altho' our prospect is peace, our policy & 
purpose is to provide for defence by all those means 
to which our resources are competent. 

I salute you with friendship, & assure you of my 
high respect and consideration. 

Th. Jefferson. 


Paris, 22 d July, 1806. 

Sir, — Having no cypher in which I can write to 
Mess. Monroe & Pinckney, and recollecting that you 
have, I would wish you to communicate to them as 
expeditiously as possible the following facts. 

A treaty of peace was signed on Sunday last between 
Russia & France. 

Lord Yarmouth is about to take a public character 
at this court immediately. There is much reason to 
believe that a peace between France & England will 
also take place. 

It may be of much importance that our ministers in 
London should know these facts. If you should not think 
proper to send a special messenger, a letter enclosed to 
Alexandre may find M r Thompson at Rotterdam. 


Untill you hear this information thro' some other 
channel, you will not speak of it here. 

I am, Sir, very respectfully yrs. 

J. Armstrong. 


Paris, July 22, 1806. 
G. W. Erving, Esq. 

My dear Sir, — I have only time to thank you for your 
letter of y e 28 th ult° ; its contents were very important & 
y e intelligence proves correct. I have only time to 
acquaint you that the preliminaries of peace with Russia 
were signed on Sunday last ; & that there is every reason 
to expect that peace with England will shortly take 
place. I hope that it will not prove prejudicial to the 
proposed negociation ; but I fear desultory measures and 
procrastination from more than one source. We have 
many reports here, some not favourable to the interest or 
peace of y e U. S. I hope they will prove only idle specu- 
lations. But it is said propositions have been made in y e 
overtures for peace to change y e gov* of y e U. S. I do 
not however believe it, altho I confess I do not like such 
reports. I w d add, but I have much business to attend to. 
I shall write to you as soon as I am more at leisure. 
Pray let me hear from you often, especially if anything 
sh d occur respecting our negotiations. Being in great 

haste, believe me very respectfully yours. 

J. B. 

The Spanish agent is named Isquierdo. 


Paris, 23 July. 

Sir, — - 1 had the honor of receiving your letter of the 
22 d instant. Your views of the interests of the United 


States and the wishes of the administration, as far as they 
go, correspond altogether with my own. Indeed with 
regard to the latter, there is scarcely any room for 
mistake ; as our instructions cannot without a good deal 
of ingenuity receive two readings which shall be con- 
tradictory to each other. 

Expedition is certainly very desirable, particularly 
under the changes which in all probability will soon take 
place in the political relations of the great powers of 
Europe. Nothing hitherto has been omitted on my part 
which could hasten the negotiation ; nor do I yet foresee 
any thing from any quarter that will delay it beyond a 
few days. The presumption is that Mr. Escardo, to 
whom the subject is perfectly new, may think a little 
previous examination necessary to a discussion of it. 

I do not think this government will take any further 
agency in the business, excepting only to announce the 
appointment and presence of the Spanish minister. In 
bringing us together the Emperor's engagements are 
nearly or altogether fulfilled. 

The moment I receive official notice of Mr. Escardo's 
appointment, I shall communicate it to you, and we may 
then decide together what new step shall be taken. My 
own opinion is, that having accomplished the first object 
(the getting a negotiation at Paris) we ought not to lose 
the benefits of it by an adherence to any thing like mere 

I am, Sir, with much esteem, 

Your most obedient and very humble servant. 

John Armstrong. 

I have received no w T ritten communication from the 
Prince of Benevent, except one note, the substance of 
which has been already communicated to you. 

His Excellency James Bowdoin. 




Paris, August 7 th 1806. 
Geo. W. Erving, Esq. 

My dear Sir, — Owing to the pressure of business I 
directed M r Sullivan to write you a few lines y e day 
before yesterday ; since w ch I have rec d yours of the 
17 th ult°. Yours of the 4 th , 15 th , & 18 th June, & 28 th July 
I had before rec d ; the three last of w ch I have found very 
important. With respect to that of the 17 th ult°, there 
seems to be something inexplicable in 1366's # last letter. 
It seems to be either a change in opinion respecting the 
proposition of our gov* or else that they had not known 
of the appointm 4 of Isquierdo ; who has got his creden- 
tials & it is said will not bring them forward until the 
events of the negociation between France & Engl d are 
known. Overtures have been made & preliminaries have 
been discussing for some time thr6 L d Yarmouth, & what 
gives the appearance that something like an arrange m* 
has been made is, that L d Lauderdale has arrived here 
from Engl d , & it is said that preliminaries will be 
declared in a few days. The negociation has hitherto 
been conducted with y e greatest secrecy: the peace it is 
however said will produce great changes and that France, 
Russia & Engl d will be the only powers w ch will remain 
really independant in Europe ; the rest will be sheltered 
under the wing of France or Russia. Engl d , it is said, 
is to be made rich in colonies in the East & West Indies, 
but is to relinquish Gibralter, Minorca & Malta. France 
is to have Egypt & some part of the Turkish dominions. 
These are the reports of the day : there are some reports 
likewise w ch implicate the peace of y e U. S., but I hope 
they will prove to be without foundation. Every thing 
seems to be in a state of uncertainty & change, & what 
a day may bring forth it is impossible to say. I am 

* Talleyrand's. — Eds. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 323 

much oppressed with business & am unable to give you 
other than loose thots upon the state of things. I pray 
you to continue yr. letters, & to let me know every 
occurring circumstance respecting the proposed negocia- 
tion. Does there appear to be apprehensions of a change 
in the Spanish gov 1 ? Reports here go to this circum- 
stance, as also to that of Portugal. We are all well & 
desire to be remembered to you. 

Believe me always yrs., &c a . 


Paris, Aug* 14, 1806. 
Geo. W. Erving, Esq. 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you on the 7 th ins* & M r 
Sullivan at my request two days before in reply to yours 
of the 17 th of July. I am now to acknowledge yours of 
the 31 st ult° & thank you for the important informa- 
tion it contains. The perfect silence of Isquierdo, & y e 
singular letter written by 1361* to your friend convinces 
me that obstacles of some kind are thrown in the way of 
an arrangement of our disputes with Spain, or that the 
negociation is suspended or controled by that w ch is pend- 
ing between France & England. Certain rumours & re- 
ports here implicating the independence & peace of our 
country had made me extremely anxious to ascertain the 
truth of them ; & I have y e satisfaction to acquaint you 
that if there have been propositions justifying the reports, 
they have proved fruitless & that the present state of y e - 
negociation between y e powers does not augur a favour- 
able issue. 

We have rec d a dispatch from M r Madison of the 6 th of 
May ; it breathes the pacific disposition of our governm*. 
With respect to other news from the U. S. I enclose you a 

* Talleyrand. — Eds. 


newspaper of .the 16 th of June from Boston. I have many 
details to make you when my health shall be better, but 
extreme application & much writing added to the dangers 
of miscarriage have prevented me from communicating to 
you so extensively as I could wish. My family join me 
in best regards. 

Believe me always very sincerely yours. 

James Bowdoin. 

P. S. Please to recollect that y e value of facts very 
often depend on dates ; & I wish that had given me the 
dates of 1361's & of 1108. 1448. 713/s * letters. 

In the acknowledgement in my last of yr. letters there 
was an error, w ch I now correct by acquainting you that I 
have duly rec d yours of y e 4 th , 15 th , 18 th & 28 th of June, 
& of the 14 th , 17 th , & 31 st July. 

G. W. Erving. 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 14 th ins*, & am 
now to acknowledge the rec* of yours of y e 5 th ins*. My 
communications with 1501 1 are as usual by writing. No 
overtures are made by Isquierdo, I apprehend there may 
be some disagreament between 1361. [Tallyrand] & 1385. 
215. 1576. 1118. [the Prince of Peace] w ch shall take 
upon them to instruct Isquierdo. 1501 says his Isquierdo's 
instructions required either explanation or amendment & 
that he is waiting to receive intelligence from his gov*. 
It is possible that he may be drawn into some speculating 
schemes with Parker & C°. Dont fail to give me any 
thing you may hear concerning this man, his views & 
even his passions. Pray let yr. facts be accompanied with 
dates ; their value often very much depend upon them. 

* Daniel Parker's. He was the agent in Paris of Hope & Co., the bankers of Amster- 
dam. — Eds. 

t General Armstrong. — Eds. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 325 

With respect to the negociation between France & 
Engl d it is difficult to say what will ultimately result from 
it. I believe that neither L d Lauderdale or even the 
Emperor c d give an opinion w ch ought to be trusted to, & 
therefore you must not annex any weight to mine. Not- 
withstanding, from what I know & hear taken in connec- 
tion with y e unsettled state of Europe, I am of the 
opinion that peace will not take place, & I c d give you a 
similar opinion from very high authority. Our affairs 
with Engl d are progressing to a treaty. L d Aukland & 
L d Holland are the ministers w T ho are charged with the 
British commission, & I am authorized to say that the 
treaty is probably completed by this time. This circum- 
stance contradicts directly the reports w ch have lately cir- 
culated at Paris ; and must shew both to the Spanish & 
French gov ts the necessity of compromising our disputes 
with Spain. Without a single appearance from the move- 
ments w ch are taking place here to justify the opinion, I 
feel very confident that we shall obtain a treaty ulti- 
mately. There is nothing but y e intrigues of stock jobbers 
& speculators w ch have hitherto prevented it, & I trust 
that they will be obliged very soon to withdraw their 
interference. , I continue to be oppressed with much busi- 
ness, & therefore I beg you to be satisfied with the hasty 
letters I am obliged to write you. 

My family joins me in best regards. Believe me always, 
with great esteem, 

Very sincerely yours. 

J. Bowdoin. 

Paris, Aug 1 23, 1806. 


Paris, September 9 th , 1806. 
Geo. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 23 d ult° & y e 1 st 
ins* to w ch please to be refered. I y e last evening rec d 


yours of y e 20 th ult° & note what you observe concerning 
1430. 709. 1300. 854. [Isquierdo]. I believe that he may 
have been instructed but not commissioned, altho 1501 is 
the person who gave me the intelligence & w ch I have 
transmitted to our gov*. This circumstance if true will 
place the conduct of this gov* in a different light than it 
has stood in my mind — meaning by the gov* 1385. 16. 
[ye Emperor] The failure of the negociation, w ch I think 
is to be apprehended, connected with the reports w ch have 
prevailed here & w ch will spread like [wi]ld fire in the 
U. S. will have a tendency to make a [d]eep & wrong im- 
pression in the U. S. The failure will be connected with 
the report & this gov* be greatly discredited in a case in 
w ch it ought not to be ; the saddle sh d rest upon the right 
back. If it is Spain, uninfluenced by this gov* w ch has 
created the obstacle, it ought to be so understood. I w d 
not have you suppose that y e miscreants who have come 
out of 1381's office, with their money projects & who 
have made our gov* the dupe of them are excusable. These 
are the people who have thrown obstacles in y e way of an 
amicable adjustm*, & to whom it will be finally attribu- 
table, sh d we fail of success. It is 1108. 1447. 1300's 
[Parker's] intrigues with 1501* w ch has done. all the mis- 
chief ; he is daily closeted with him, & who by means of 
intrigue has converted himself into a kind of minister of 
y e U. S ! To tell you of all the intrigues w ch I have been 
eye-witness to w d require much time & many pages. I 
shall therefore desist & request the continuance of your 
researches with yr. friend : they will serve as they have 
done to throw light upon the intrigues w ch are & have 
been carrying on. With respect to the present aspect of 
European affairs, a few days past has laid open the 
manuvres w ch are carrying on to circumvent 1385. 1544. 
1332. 1576. 1385. 16. [y e ambition of y e Emperor]. 
Prussia, Hesse, Saxony & Mecklenbourg, it is said, have 

* Armstrong. — Eds. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 327 

formed a confederacy, w ch will be supported by Russia & 
Great Britain, to protect the independence of y e northern 
States of Germany. It is also said, that there are a 
hund d & fifty thousand men, Russians & Prussians, upon 
their march to Holland and who will be commanded by 
the King of Sweden. It is also said that both Russia & 
Prussia have sent their ministers to Paris to confer upon 
the subject of a general peace, whilst their armies are 
marching to their places of destination. For once it 
seems as if the confederates have kept their own secrets & 
are likely to take the field under more advantages than 
they have heretofore done, i. e., sh d peace not take place ; 
when both parties are prepared & ought to look for the 
most serious consequences from defeat, I confess that such 
a situation must offer the strongest motives to reconcilia- 
tion ; but Europe more than half revolutionized & y e 
measures pursuing to complete the change is a situation 
of things ill suited to the claims & the ancient divisions 
of power among the Princes. L d Lauderdale is still here, 
as well as the ministers of those powers who have any 
vestiges of independ 06 remaining ; so that there will be a 
concert of measures in y e cabinet as well as in the field. 
Adieu. Let me refer you particularly to my last letter. 
My family desire their regards to you. I shall write you 
as soon as the general negociations shall take their ulti- 
mate inclination. Believe me always, with very great 

Very respectfully yours. 

J. B. 

P. S. I forgot to mention that M r Sullivan rec d from 
yr. bankers in London the bal ce of acc° due to me [on] yr. 
father's books, placing a small sum in [the]ir hands to my 
future order. I d d Mr. S. yr. letter who will take care to 
answer it, & to acquaint you of any thing occurring w ch he 
may think will be useful or pleasing to you. 



September 9 th , 1806. Paris. 

Sir, — I had the honor of receiving your note of yester- 
day, & fully partake of the sollicitude you express on the 
subject of the proposed negociation. An application is at 
this moment depending in relation to it, upon the issue 
of which our future and joint measures must be taken. 
If this government can be brought to rescue the busi- 
ness from the iorpor in which it now lies, we shall have 
gained all I expect from its agency and perhaps all that 
may be necessary to our object. If on the other hand 
it should refuse to give it any new impulse, we have little 
hope from any means within our reach of bringing M. 
Isquierdo into the negociation, and still less of inducing 
him to terminate it in the manner we wish. In the 
latter event, one step is within our power and certainly 
within our duty and that is, to insist on M r Isquierdo's 
saying whether he will or will not negociate ? Beyond 
this we may not be able to go, but short of this we cannot 
with any propriety stop. 

The idea that runs throughout your note of blending 
this country with Spain and even regarding her as the 
principal in the controversy is in many respects a very 
dangerous one ; — is the very heterodoxy of Mr. J. Ran- 
dolph, and ought not to be adopted, much less expressed, 
but upon evidence much more clear and decisive than 
I believe can be brought to support it. To the Emperor 
we certainly are indebted for the only circumstance which 
has at all approached us to our object, and should he 
decline giving us farther aid it may furnish matter for 
regret, but none for blame ; particularly when we con- 
sider how much has been said in both hemispheres of the 
influence of France and the motives she had for employing 
that influence in our favor and on the present occasion. 
The dilemma presented by the doctrines I allude to is 

1806.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 329 

certainly embarrassing, and furnishes a reason why in 
this business she ought to proceed with great circum- 
spection ; for if she goes on so to impress Spain as to 
produce the treaty on our terms, she is bought (according 
to the argument) with American money ; and if she 
refuses to go beyond a certain point which shall leave 
to Spain her free-agency she prevents Spain from acting 
and makes herself a principal in the quarrel. 

I am sure you will regard these remarks as cautionary 
only and as growing out of a conviction that cannot fail 
to be common to us both, viz., that if we are to break 
with Spain, we ought if possible to do it in a way that 
may leave us to combat her alone. 

The letters copies of which you requested shall be sent 
as soon as M r Warden can get to work upon them. 

John Armstrong. 

Mr. Bowdoin. 


Paris, 14 Sept., 1806. 

Sir, — The amount of the information you gave on 
Friday last was, that " M r Erving had informed you that 
M. Isquierdo neither had been, nor was now authorised 
to negociate with us ; and that M r Erving had received 
this fact from the Prince of Peace himself." 

In your note of to-day you wish to know what meas- 
ures I have taken, or mean to take, with regard to the 
above information ? 

The first step to be taken is to ascertain its correctness, 
because I have no scruple in saying that I suspect its 
accuracy ; either you have misunderstood M r Erving or 
M r Erving has misunderstood the Prince of Peace. That 
M r Isquierdo may not now be authorized to negociate is 
possible, because it is possible that since Thursday even- 
ing last, he may have received new instructions, but the 


other part of the assertion, that " he never has been 
authorised " is certainly unfounded. The facts which con- 
tradict are 

1 st A letter from M. Erving to yourself, stating on the 
authority of the Prince of Peace that a person had been 
appointed to negociate, &c. 

2 d The declaration of M r Isquierdo freely & frequently 
made that he had been appointed to negociate, &c. 

3 d The understanding of this government that such 
was the fact ; and 

4 th The express declaration of the Spanish ambassador 
made to myself, in the presence of M. Isquierdo, that 
a person had been appointed by H. C. M. to treat with us, 
and that M. Isquierdo was that person. The steps I have 
taken will however soon terminate both conjectures and 
arguments on this head. 

If, as you suppose, M r Isquierdo never has been author- 
ised, or if having been authorised his powers should have 
been recalled and no similar or competent powers vested 
in any other person or persons, we may, I think, consider 
the business as terminated ; but on this point I shall 
have occasion to communicate farther & soon. 

I would barely suggest that as M r Erving's letter may 
contain details and illustrations with regard to the fact 
he alledges, it would have equally comported with your 
preaching and my practice to have furnished me with 
a copy of it. 

I am, Sir, very respectfully your obed. hum. serv*. 

John Armstrong. 

M R Bowdoin. 


Paris, 16 Sept., 1806. 

Sir, — The measures suggested in your note of yester- 
day are two, that this government be informed that M 1 

1806.] JOHN, ARMSTRONG. 331 

Isquierdo neither has been, nor is now, empowered to treat 
with us ; and that M r Erving be requested to open a cor- 
respondence with M r Cevallos on the subject of the nego- 
ciation, &c. I regret that I cannot give my consent to 
either of these propositions, — not to the former because 
it would be taking for granted a fact by no means estab- 
lished, and which ought to be fully & clearly established 
before it be made the ground-work of an application to 
this government : not to the latter, because such a request 
on my part, or such a correspondence on the part of 
M r Erving, would equally break in upon what I know to 
be the intentions of our gov*, and what I have been ordered 
to communicate as such to his Majesty the Emperor. I 
shall quote the three articles of my orders which have 
relation to this point that you may yourself judge of 
their force and application. 

1 st That the gov* of France be informed that the U. S. 
will make no overture or application whatsoever to the 
Spanish government on the subject of the differences 
pending between them, and that if an accomodation of 
these differences shall take place the first advances thereto 
must be made by Spain, and must be the result either of 
her own reflexions or of the councils she may receive 
from France. 

2 d That the terms upon which an amicable adjustment 
may take place between H. C. M. & the U. S. be sub- 
mitted to the gov* of France, and 

3 d That means be taken to engage the good offices of 
the Emperor in predisposing Spain to meet the U. S. on 
those terms. 

These orders sufficiently indicate the channel through 
which the U. S. mean to approach their object and as 
clearly prohibit any direct overture to any Spanish au- 
thority whatsoever. To this remark I have only to add 
that an application on the subject is now before the 


I am not possessed of the communication made by this 
gov* to that of Spain. Papers of this description cannot 
be asked for, and are seldom if ever given spontaneously. 
I have the honor to be Sir, with very great respect, 
Your most obedient & very humble servant. 

John Armstrong. 

M R Bowdoin. 

G. W. Erving, Esq*. 

My dear Sir, — I wrote you on the 23 d ult° & the 1 st , 
9 th & 11 th ins 1 , to w ch please to be refered. Since my last 
I have rec d yours of y e 25 th & 27 th of Aug* : the latter is 
very important & has made part of a correspond 06 w ch I 
have lately had with 1501, who has called into question 
its accuracy & the information it contains seems very 
much to disturb him. I expect to again write 1501 this 
day & shall recommend him to join with me in a letter 
to you to make a formal note to M. C. requesting to 
know what measures will be taken by Spain in conse- 
quence of the propositions of our gov* made thro y e me- 
dium of the French gov*. I need not apprize you that 
the Spanish gov* ought to be pushed to a definitive reply, 
whether it means to negociate or not under the propo- 
sitions of our gov*, & this reply ought to be timely pro- 
cured to be laid before Congress at its approaching session. 
If 1501 does not chuse to join me in the request my pres- 
ent opinion is, that I shall direct it to be done under my 
own commission. I use this term, only to give you an 
opinion of what I conceive I have authority to do ; and 
in order that you may be prepared for such a case, I 
shall be glad that you will consider it & give me yr. opin- 
ion upon it. I w d forward you a copy of my correspond- 
ence with 1501, if I c d do it with safety & if you can 
point out a mode, or you can acquaint me of a confiden- 
tial person going from hence for Madrid or sh d hereafter 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOHST. 333 

hear of one, I shall with pleasure profit of y e opp ty to send 
y e correspond 06 . 

With respect to a gen 1 peace altho L d Lauderdale is 
here as well as ministers from Prussia & I believe Russia, 
there seems little probability of its taking place. The 
Imperial Guards, artillery, &c a , have marched, & y e Em- 
peror it is s d is to follow in a few days. Prussia is to be 
attacked at all points, & five armies are said to be des- 
tined for the business. Saxony, Hesse, Mecklenbourg, & 
Sweden with Prussia have formed a confederacy for their 
common protection & the impending attack from y e French 
troops is with the view of breaking it up. There is some 
reason to suppose that Austria may yet join it ; but I un- 
derstand that it is not yet settled. The conflict will be 
probably very bloody, & will be followed by important 
consequences. Pray give me a particular & circumstan- 
tial reply to my last letter, it may devellope some of the 
schemes, w ch are intended for particular purposes to pro- 
crastinate the negociation. My family desire to be re- 
membered to you. Believe me always, my d r Sir, with 

great regard, 

Yours, &c a , &c a , &c a . 

September 16 th , 1806. 


G. W. Erving, Esq*. 

My dear Sir, — My letters to you w ch remain un- 
acknowledged are of y e 1 st , 9 th , 11 th , & 16 th inst*. Yours 
of y e 2 d ins* I rec d this morning. Altho I have not much 
to say, I shall still repeat what I may have before sug- 
gested to you, and enclose you part of my correspond 06 
grounded upon your letter of y e 27 th ultimo. I have not 
yet done with it, but I shall again revive it as soon as a 
few days shall elapse, unless something shall turn up to 
render it unnecessary. If the proposed negociation shall 
continue to be treated with neglect or contempt, I have 


no hesitance to say that hostilities are unavoidable. I 
believe the Emperor is well disposed to having our affairs 
satisfactorily adjusted, but the stock jobbers & their confed- 
erates are numerous & influential ; and it is obviously not 
for their interest that our affairs sh d be adjusted under 
the present instructions with w ch 1108 — 713 [Parker] is 
better acquainted than I am ; and as he says that a ne- 
gociation upon the proposed terms is not liked and will 
not be acceded to, whilst y e Emperor professes to be well 
disposed to y e adjusting you may see where y e opposition 
lies, & from what motive it springs and these motives will 
doubtless control the negociation, unless that some threat- 
ening consequences shall compel the adoption of meas- 
ures w ch shall put aside all y e schemes for stock jobbing & 

private emolument : how far Is is concerned, I know 

not: he is intimate with 1108, and as you'll see by the 
correspond 06 has been closeted by 1501. 1108 is in close 
intimacy at 1366's office, whilst he has a knowledge of all 
that is passing in our gov* from 1501 & in y e U. S. from 
1588. 1452 — n [Lincoln] but as our affairs are probably 
happily arranged with G. B. & as y e new coalition in y e 
north presents a very formidable aspect whatever may be 
pretended to the contrary, & sh d that coalition be able to 
make & continue a defensive war ag st France, w ch there 
is reason to expect, if credit can be given to the prepara- 
tions w ch are made, I shall in such case be very confident, 
that the Prince of Beneventum will not think it prudent 
to allow our disputes with Spain to remain open, but will 
be obliged to close them upon the best terms he can. Our 
neutrality is of great importance to both France & Spain; 
it is the only means thro w ch their West India colonies can 
be preserved to them, or that y 6 vent of their productions 
can take place; it is equally important to their commerce 
in Europe, refering to their necessary importations or to 
y e sale of their productions; & what adds to its impor- 
tance is, that G. B. not having the same motives to re- 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 335 

spect the flag of any other neutral state will add in case 
the U. S. are drawn into y e war, such additional restric- 
tions upon the commerce of France & Spain as will reduce 
their finances even to a lower ebb than they now are, by 
an immeadiate destruction of that part of their revenue 
w ch they draw from commerce, as well as very much 
lessen the general ability to pay taxes in whatever shape 
they may be levied. So fully apprized was M r Pitt of this 
circumstance, that he was known to possess y e opinion 
that it was better for G. B. to endure the loss of the 
commerce of U. S. & to submit to the danger of their 
hostility than to allow the concession of that commerce 
w ch the present British regulations permit to vessells of 
y e U. S. trading to the ports of France & Spain. It w d 
seem that either the French & Spanish ministry are not 
apprized of these circumstances, or that they think that y e 
United States cannot be driven to hostilities by ill treatm* 
or contempt, for otherwise they could not justify the pol- 
icy w ch they seem of late to have pursued towards them. 
The enquiry arises w ch of these powers is to blame ? is it 
from Spain from w ch the opposition to the arrangem* prin- 
cipally springs ? or is it France w ch secretly impedes it ? 
or is it the stock-jobbers who have found the secret ave- 
nues to both gov ts & throw obstacles in y e way of the ad- 
justment ? an explanation of a certain letter written to 
yr. friend, & of w ch you made mention in yr. letter of the 
17 th of July, w d be of great service. I think itw d be well 
to endeavour to penetrate into the motives w ch induced y e 
replies made to you as stated in yr. letter of y e 27 th ultimo, 
or whether they arose from y e influence of y e letter re- 
fered to in yrs. of y e 17 th of July ; to know y e leading mo- 
tives & secret springs of a line of conduct opens the way to 
y e most ready means of counteracting it. I hope you will 
continue your usual activity. I send only a copy of the 
correspond 06 between Prince of Beneventum & Gen. Arm- 
strong ; mine with the Gen 1 1 shall retain for fear of an 




accident. There is the remains of a letter from 1501 to 
me attached to the copy of a letter to M r Tallerand, the 
reason of it you will discover without further explanation. 
This is sent to me for a copy of the whole correspond 06 , it 
certainly requires no comment. We have reports here 
that there has been a battle between y e van of the Prus- 
sian & French armies : it is s d to have been in favour of 
y e former. Y e Emperor meets the Senate this day to take 
leave, & set oh for Frankfort or Mayence this evening. 
The preparations are immense on both sides ; the last of 
y e soldiery quit Paris this day : they go on in waggons & by 
post. You may depend that the conflict will be serious. 
We had another report yesterday that certain propositions 
implicating the independ 06 of y e U. S., i. e., in regard to 
making one of y e sons of Geo. 3 d king of the U. S. have 
been communicated & made public in Engl d . I do not 
vouch for its truth, sh d it be confirmed I shall acquaint 
with it. Excuse this hasty desultory letter. I have no 
time to copy it. Our family are well & desire to be re- 
membered to you. Believe me always, with great regard, 


Sep* 21st, 1806. 

G. W. Erving, Esq k . 

My dear Sir, — I have written to you on the 14 th & 
23 d Aug 1 & on y e 1 st & 9 th inst. to w ch please to be re- 
fered. The object I have in now writing to you principally 
refers to yr. letter of y e 17 th July, wherein you say I have 
1075. 545. 1549. 925. 879. 1576. 1366 's. [seen another 
letter of Tally rand's] he says, &c a , has been too quick, <&c a . 
I wish you to repeat & to be as explicit as possible 
upon this letter to w ch yours refers, in giving the 
contents & what you conceive, & what yr. friend does & 
did conceive, to be y e motive thus suddenly to arrest the 
very proceedings he (1366) had put in train. I am to 

1306.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 337 

have a copy in a day or two of 1501's correspondence 
with 1366 [Tallyrand] : a full & clear explanation of y e 
design w ch 1366 had in writing as he did to your friend 
will put me in possession of the whole ground. Things 
are coming to a crisis & must soon explain themselves. 
I shall be obliged to you to enquire whether D r Tho s 
Lopez, a Spanish geographer, made a map of America & 
particularly of the Gulf of Mexico & whether he has laid 
down y e eastern limits of New T Mexico, or what is y e same 
thing y e western limits of Louisiana in the Rio del Norte 
& Sallado continued to the northern boundary of 
Louisiana wherever it may be. One of M r Monroe's 
notes to M. Cevallos states this circumstance ; my infor- 
mation here is, that Lopez never published a map of any 
part of America ; at any rate if he did it is not to be 
found at Paris. If you can get at any information con- 
cerning the western boundary of Louisiana from Spanish 
historians or geographers, w ch places the limits in y e Rio 
del Norte, I wish you to acquaint me therewith. I think 
I can have no difficulty in establishing the point from y e 
numerous vouchers w ch I have collected ; but these are 
principally French. I wish that you w d let me know 
what you can obtain upon this point, altho I am 
apprehensive the field is barren & that I shall not give 
you much trouble ; but what the geographers or historians 
of Spain can furnish may be probably found in the 
library of y e Academy of History, to w ch I think it 
probable that foreigners of distinction have access. The 
secret treaty of 1762 between France & Spain, if a copy 
of it c d be obtained by paying a small sum of money, w d be 
a very valuable paper, as it probably explains both y e 
eastern & western limits & y e objects & motives of the 
two gov ts in making & rec g the cession; at least it w d 
answer to know how far the Spanish gov* might be pushed 
to an exposure of it to settle y e limits of the territory. 
The cession was made in 1762, but the transfer of y e 



colony did not take place till 1769 ; and it is probable 
that it w d have never been made but at the instigation of 
the British cabinet for the better security of their colonies. 
I mention this circumstance that you possibly obtain 
some papers favourable to our claims from the archives 
of the British cabinet, if there are such at Madrid & they 
can be got at. In your absence I wrote to M r Young 
concerning the claims of our citizens from Spanish 
spoliations ; if you have any docum ts I wish you w d send 
me a list of the vessells y e owners & y e am° of the 
respective claims. Nothing new has occured since my 
last relative to a general peace; the respective ministers 
continue here, but I do not at present think that y e 
present negociation can result in peace. Adieu. Believe 
me always, with great regard, 

Yery sincerely yours, &c\ 

Paris, Sep. 11, 1806. J* B. 

G. W. Erving, Esq k . 

My dear Sir, — I duly rec d yr. letter of the 12th ult° 
the day before yesterday ; that of y e 8 th is not yet come 
to hand, & I fear never will. The use I made of 1108. 
1447. 1300's [Parker's] suggestions to you was to impress 
upon the Presid ts mind an important fact, in respect to y e 
leading motives w ch controul the proposed negociation. 
1501 was not in possession of his instructions five days, 
when 1108. [Parker] told M r Skipwith that the proposi- 
tions were not relished & w d not go down. What has 
been done therefore is pro forma & this will explain to 
you y e motives of the first letters to yr. friend, & the 
correspendent momentary approbation of 1385. 215. 1576. 
1118 : [the P. of Peace] the posterier letters to yr. friend 
complaining of his conduct, & y e subsequent conduct of 
1385. 215. [Prince of P.] shew that there has been no 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 339 

real intention here of bringing the business to a close 
under y e present propositions. Take yr. position in the 
belief of the money projects w ch have been on foot, & it 
is easy to account for every thing w ch has taken place 
here or at Madrid. The Emperor & Prince of Beneventum 
are at Mentz. Paris is become bare of troops, they were- 
sent on by post & y e first devision of them, it was calcu- 
lated, w d arrive at Mentz yesterday. The head quarters 
of the French army is said to be Bamberg, & will be 
300,000 strong. The Prussians are in great force at Halle, 
Madebourg, Silisea & along the frontiers to Bohemia. 
The Duke of Brunswic commands the center, Gen 1 
Blucher & Ruchel y e right wing & Prince Hohenloe the 
left. The most active operations are soon expected. L d 
Lauderdale still continues here, from what motive is not 
known. No late news from America. It was told me 
yesterday that Gen. Armstrong will set off: in a few days 
on a journey to Italy. I do not vouch for its truth. My 
family desire to be remembered to you. Believe me 
always, my dear Sir, with great regard. 
Yours, &c% &c\ 

Oct 1st, 1806. 

G. W. Erving, Esq* . 

My d e Sir, — My letters of y e 16th & 21st ult° & of the 
1st ins* are unacknowledged ; yours of y e 8th of Sep r has 
failed, & I am to acknowledge that of y e 26th ult°. I am 
much obliged to you for y e information it contains : it places 
y e whole business where I expected, & confirms me in y e 
opinion that 1381 — [Tallyrand] has been concerned in 
1101's [Parker's] money schemes. The opposition I have 
given to this business under all the shapes w ch it has taken, 
I have good reason to think has struck a damp upon y e 
whole affair, & I believe they begin seriously to think 


of relinquishing it, altho I shall not trust to appearances 
until a treaty is obtained. 1385. 215. 1576. 1118 [P. of 
Peace] has put a deception upon you. 1436 — o [Isquierdo] 
has had conditional powers to be used or not as 1381 [Tal- 
lyrand] may chuse: & 1385. 215. 1576. 1118. so far from 
being satisfied with y e present situation of things is very 
uneasy, & the same sensation is communicated to this 
gov*. I yesterday rec d overtures from 1381's brother, 
who discovers much anxiety, as I am told, & proposes, if 
1381 does not come to Paris in two or three days, as is 
expected, to undertake a journey to Germany to see him, 
that is if he can obtain my terms. The administration 
has placed me in a situation that it cannot justify, & if I 
am able to serve it it is more than it has a right to expect. 
I have pushed 1501. & nothing can be more contempt- 
ible than his conduct & situation, w ch cannot be much 
longer concealed from the gov fc or people of y e U. S. That 
old villain of N. Y., you know who I mean, left his project 
behind him, & this is the source of all the difficulties w ch 
our affairs have experienced. 

Sat., Paris, Oct 11th, 1806. 

Your friends desire to be remembered to you. I have 
not time to add by this post. I shall write to you as soon 
as any thing certain turns up. Believe me always with 
great regard very sincerely yours. 

No news from Prussia. 

Geo. W. Erving, Esq. 

My d r Sir, — I wrote to you the day before yesterday in 
great haste, & owing to y e mistake of a figure I am appre- 
hensive you will not know who I meant by 1381, it sir 4 
have been 1361 or 1366. This circumstance gives me y e 
opp ty to suggest to you that there was a secret treaty be- 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 341 

tween France & Spain in y e year 1762 relative to Louisiana, 
it was either accompanied w th a plan, or there is a plan or 
map w ch was made afterwards for y e use of y e two gov ts , 
placing y e western limits of Louisiana in y e Rio del Norte & 
Rio Sallado ; this map or plan was deposited in y e archives 
of both gov ts & it has been shewn here very lately with 
136 6's name & note annexed declaratory of y e western 
boundary aforementioned. As there is reason to appre- 
hend that this boundary may be disputed, if you can 
obtain a copy of y e treaty & of y e plan aforementioned 
you may go as far as 338. 794. 1067. [fifty dolls.] for 
them both ; & if you cannot obtain the copies for that 
sum, please to let me know at what price they can be 
obtained. I wish you w d ask yr. friend to give you a 
copy of y e application of this to the Spanish gov* to open 
a negociation for that part of Louisiana lying to y e eastw d 
of y e Missisippi : it is s d to have been made between y e 
years 1800 & 1803. (y r eleven). This ought to be pro- 
cured without creating much notice, lest we sh d not be 
able to obtain a treaty, & thereby lessen the disposi- 
tion to take it ; but I think there is a probability that a 
treaty will be obtained ; at least I am taught to think so 
from some indirect suggestions w ch I have privately rec d . 
W th respect to Spanish geographys & histories I can- 
not readily obtain either here : y e author of y e Histoire 
Universelle translated from y e English says that no one 
can determine y e limits of New Mexico on y e east, & ob- 
serves that most geographers divide it into 15 provinces, 
some into five, altho almost all y e Spanish historians divide 
it into 18 & content themselves with giving a list of their 
names. M r Monroe's quotation of Lopez's map ag st y e 
declaration of y e Paris engravers, who say that Lopez 
never published a map of America, cannot be adduced 
as an authority. If you can find any thing upon y e 
subject of y e eastern limits of New Mexico I sh d be glad 
of it ; but I dont expect any thing of much import 06 


except the treaty & plan aforementioned. If you or M r 
Young can give me a mem of y e am of our claims for 
spoliations, distinguishing French spoliations in Spanish 
ports from other irregularities, I shall be obliged to you 
for it, as also for any opinions w ch you or M r Young may 
have upon this subject. I have late intelligence from our 
friends in Boston who are generally well. Miranda's ex- 
pedition will doubtless succeed & y e loss of y e Spanish col- 
onies to Spain seems from concurring circumstances quite 
probable. If we do not obtain a treaty seasonably to be 
laid before Congress at the approaching session, I believe 
we shall contribute not a little to y e same object, as I con- 
ceive a war to be inevitable. Whether Spain is not so far 
gone as a power to become insensible to her situation I 
can't say. It may possibly serve to quicken their movem ts 
here to privately give the 215. 1576. 1118 # this hint. 
There is no news from Prussia. Both armies are in the 
presence of each other ; but no blow is yet struck. 
Believe me always with great regard, very sincerely yours. 

Paris, Oct 13 th , 1806. 

My family desire to be remembered to you. 

Geo. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My d r Sir, — I wrote to you on the 21st ult° & on y e 
1 st , 11th & 13th instant. Yr. favour of y e 2 ins* I rec d 
last evening, & I am much obliged to you for it. It 
makes the eclaircissement perfect, & places the blame 
where it ought to lie : my two last letters I think were 
too strongly expressed. Overtures of an extraordinary 
kind were made to me thro M r Skipwith ; & altho they 
show a disposition to conciliation I am determined to put 
my face ag 8t all indirect & corrupt propositions. Our 

* Prince of Peace. — Eds. 

1806.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 343 

gov* must lay aside its apathy, must assert its claims & 
shew to the world that it knows how to estimate its situ- 
ation & interest, or the heaviest calamities will be brot 
upon our country thro intriguers & stock jobbers, who 
are the true cause of the existing misunderstanding. I 
shall acquaint you with occurring circumstances, what- 
ever they may be, & w th my feelings at y e moment they 
are presented ; I mention this, that you may account for 
the change between this & my preceeding letters, w ch 
arises from a variety of occurrences not necessary to 
mention. I shall enclose you one half of my late cor- 
respondence with Gen 1 A. by this opportunity & the re- 
mainder by the next general post day. I hope you take 

care to write to the gov* your conversations with ; 

they are interesting & sh d be communicated. Take care 
however not to notice to them any thing concerning our 
affairs w ch shall lead them to expect that y e present pro- 
posed negociation will prove successful without the cooper- 
ation of energetic measures on their side. There is no 
news from y e armies ; the Emperor has taken his quarters 
upon the frontiers of Saxony. The Senate met yesterday 
& rec d dispatches from the Emperor mentioning that all 
negociations with Prussia had broken up & that y e war 
w d commence immeadiately. The preparations on both 
sides surpass any thing w ch has been exhibited in Europe 
for many many years. The events of y e war will doubtless 
have an effect upon our negociations. Believe me always, 
with great regard, d r Sir, yours, &c a . 

Paris, Oct° 15, 1806. 

My family desire to be remembered to you. 


25 Octob., 1806. Paris. 

Sir, — I received your note of yesterday, and am 
obliged by the information it contains. You think this 


information ought to be made the foundation of a par- 
ticular representation to this government, but you have 
not even hinted at the character which ought to be given 
to this representation, — shall it be communicated meerly 
as matter of information? Shall it be offered as a decla- 
ration of the Prince of Peace ? Shall it be given in the 
words and on the authority of M r Erving ? If the fact 
it asserts be taken for granted, shall we complain that 
this government has not demanded powers ? or shall we 
remonstrate against her for not having done so ? The 
more in my opinion that the present torpor in which the 
business lies be considered as either the act or the omis- 
sion of this government, the more importance it takes, 
and the more caution on our part it requires. As how- 
ever you have a good deal of leisure, I would thank you 
to put the representation you think advisable into the 
form of a note. If it should meet my opinion of what 
under all circumstances would be most expedient, I shall 
willingly adopt it, and if it should not I shall assign my 
reasons for thinking differently from you. 

I am, with great respect, your most obed* serv*. 

John Armstrong. 

M R Bowdoin. 


Paris, 25 Octob., 1806. 

Sir, — Your letter of to-day has been received. The 
conjecture that M. Yzquierdo's powers may be revived is 
not improbable. Should this event take place, I shall be 
promptly advised of it and shall immediately return 
to Paris. I cannot but notice that you have somewhat 
mistaken the meaning of my note of the 18 th . I have not 
said that " M r Y's powers have been suspended or re- 
called in consequence of the late negociations with Eng- 
land." I but offered as conjecture that his appointment 


to treat with England might in some degree explain the 
conduct of Spain towards us. 

You enquire through whom you may have access to 
me during my absence ? M r Warden * will remain in Paris, 
will be advised of my movements and will convey to me 
any letters you may think proper to write. 

You ask also through whom you are to communicate 
with this government ? I answer, that I shall not 
charge any person with the business of the U. S. in Paris 
during the absence of the Emperor and the Prince of 
Benevent. When they return to Paris I shall return also. 

M r Warden will have authority to open all packets 
addressed to me which shall come from the Dep* of State 
of the U. S. and will deliver to you any letters specially 
directed to you. All others he will forward to me either 
by post or by express. These to become intelligible must 
be interpreted by my cypher which I shall carry with me. 
I do not however expect any letter of much importance 
from the gov* for some time to come. They have been 
regularly apprized by me of every step taken in the busi- 
ness, and will no doubt wait the results of these measures. 

I am sorry I cannot gratify your sollicitude with re- 
spect to notes (other than those I have already sent) 
which I have written to this gov*. Not believing that 
a negociation with France (the object of which is to 
produce a negociation with Spain) could in its own 
nature, be managed with the pen, I have made but little 
use of it. To the notes already sent I can therefore add 
only a few lines written the other day to M. Talleyrand 
which the occasion called for. 

I am, Sir, respectfully, your most obed* serv*. 

John Armstrong. 

M R Bowdoin. 

* David B. Warden, secretary of legation to General Armstrong, and afterward, for 
fort}' years, consul-general of the United States at Paris. He was elected a Correspond- 
ing Member of the Historical Society in 1830, and died in Paris, Oct. 9, 1845. — Eds. 



G. W. Erving, Esq. 

My d r Sir, — I wrote to you on the 1st, 11th, 13th, 
& 15th ins*, & have since enclosed a part of my cor- 
respond" with 1501 by the way of Bordeaux. Since 
which 1 have rec d yours of the 6th & 13th ins 1 . Neither 
you nor your friend ought to be under the least appre- 
hensions. I shall take care to say nothing to 1501 w ch 
shall implicate him. As I think the whole business 
pretty well developed & that we precisely know where the 
blame lies our gov 1 cannot act under any deception. 1366- 
1108. — & 1501,* have been very thoroughly sifted: and 
their intrigues must be renounced or adopted as a meas- 
ure of policy at the option of the gov 1 . 1501 has given 
me formal notice of his going from Paris for some weeks : 
it is s d , he is going to the south of France & to Italy for 
his health. I need say nothing ab 1 him; his conduct suffi- 
ciently speaks for itself. If you rec e any intelligence 
from y e Presid 1 or from M r Madison I shall be obliged to 
you to acquaint me therewith. As soon as this business 
with Spain is finished it is my intention to return home. 
My debut has not been either flattering or pleasing to me ; 
it has perfectly satisfied me by proving to me that the 
situation of a minister is neither a source of pleasure or 
profit ; it will not afford the first because deception & 
deceit characterize those with whom you must associate, 
& y e latter because the allowance of gov 1 will not more 
than half pay the necessary expences. At any rate I 
am determined to be quit of it as soon as I possibly can 
without sacrificing the interest of our gov 1 or my own 
personal reputation. 

The acc ts from Prussia surpass all description ; their 
armies every where routed and overthrown. I have only 
time to enclose the Bulletin. My family desire to be 

* Talleyrand, Parker, and Armstrong. — Eds. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 347 

remembered to you. Believe me always, with great 
regard, very sincerely yours, &c, &c\ 
Paris, Oct 27 rh , 1806. 

P. S. I forgot to explain to you my manner of 
managem* concerning the Argus ; I have taken it at my 
own expence & have forwarded it to you by the post of 
y e day ; if you have incured any increased expence from 
the arrangem' it is my fault, & if you desire it as you 
formerly had it, you will give me your directions 

The post was closed yesterday before my letter was 
offered, w ch gives me the opp ty of enclosing the Argus of 
this day containing an acc° of y e late victories ; & also to 
acknowledge the rec* of yrs of y e 15th. Pray let me 
know y e effect that these victories may produce in Spain. 
I shall write to you very soon. 

Yrs, &c\ 

28 th Oct . 

q. en A Paris, Oct. 29, 1806. 

Sir, — I received your letters of the 25th instant 
the day before yesterday at eleven o'clock enclosing a 
copy of your note to the P. of B m dated the 15 th inst. 
Altho I have no disposition to refuse you my advise 
or opinion generally as to the note I think ought to be 
written to this gov 11 , yet you are sensible that I am not in 
possession of the whole subject, and therefore cannot with 
propriety take upon me the responsibility of writing a 
note for you upon the present occasion, agreably to your 
request. What were the original inofficial propositions 
said to be from the P. of B m ? How far they have been 
acceded to by the President ? What are 664. 218. 1426. 
24. 565. 1067. [your private instructions] (for it seems by 


664. 879. 1576. 1385. 242. 1382. 1576. 64. [your letter of 

the 6th of ] that 663. 1259. 31.) [you have such] and 

how far 551. 1426. 24. 565. [those instructions] agree 
with 551. 107. 569. 491. 1349. [those common to us both] 
are circumstances which should have an influence upon 
the note which seems to be called for upon the present 
occasion. It is on these accounts, and these only, taken 
in connection with the circumstance that it makes no 
part of my commission, render it equally reasonable and 
proper that I should decline your request. I have how- 
ever no hesitance in saying, I consider that the delay has 
originated with this gov*, and that I think the note in 
question ought to represent that there is good reason to 
suppose that Spain stands ready to put her affairs with 
the U. S. in a train of amicable arrangement as soon as 
she shall receive the impulse from this gov*; and that 
without it she is neither disposed nor will she stir one 
step. That from the length of time our disputes have 
subsisted as well as from the ineffectual attempts which 
have been made to procure their arrangement, any 
further delay must be attended with the most serious 
consequences. That as it was the intention of his Impe- 
rial Majesty to lend his friendly mediation to prevent the 
evils consequent upon the present posture of our affairs 
agreably to the assurances given in June last, his Ma- 
jesty's friendly interposition cannot be too soon nor too 
efficiently put in operation to procure the desired effects, 
and that if his Majesty should not be induced shortly to 
afford his friendly interference you could not answer for 
the consequences of a further delay. A note containing 
the general sentiments herein stated, from the informa- 
tion I possess, would be probably productive of great 
advantage, could do no harm, and would serve at least to 
explain the real motives and intentions of this gov*. 
I am very respectfully, Sir, &c, &c, &c. 

Signed. J. B. 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 349 

G. W. Erving. 

My d r Sir, — My last was forwarded y e 28th instant, 
since w ch I have rec d new overtures thro M r Skipwith & 
things look like a disposition for accommodation ; but as 
I mean to give little attention to every thing of this kind 
until it shall come through y e regular channels, I shall 
continue to consider every thing of the sort as belonging 
to the schemes of the speculators ; but that I may be 
prepared ag st every event, let me know what is likely to 
come of the proclamation & what purpose it is likely 
to serve ? Prussia is beaten & y e Emperor is probably at 
Berlin. But where the Kussian army is, or what is the 
precise intention of Austria is not yet known. Altho 
the Emperor was supposed to command 400,000 men, 
yet reinforcem ts are called for from all quarters, & y e 
corps in reserve are marching to the imperial standard ; 
this looks as if the business was not settled, & there was 
yet much fighting to be done. As movem ts in Spain of 
any sort may have an influence upon our negociations I 
wish you to continue to inform me of every occurrence. 
It is insisted on here that Isquierdo has the powers of 
the P. of P.; if so, in a certain event will they be re- 
called ? & in that event will she choose to settle our 
disputes herself? w d it or w d it not be dangerous to 
pay money here for the Floridas ? Can you sift the 
Prince, or ascertain whether it will make any change 
in y e posture of our affairs & what ? you understand 
me. Will there be any advantage in transferring the 
place of y e negociation ? As I cannot explain myself 
more particularly, you must conceive my drift & ac- 
quaint me with every thing you can procure. As soon 
as I know the fate of the correspond 06 I have enclosed 
you, I shall send you some w ch has since taken place. 


My family desire to be remembered to you. Believe 
me always with great regard very sincerely yrs. 

Oct . 30 th , 1S06. 

Y e above is written in haste. 

G. W. Erving, Esq*. 

My d r Sir, — My last was dated the 30th ult°, since 
w ch I have rec d yours of y e 21 st , 25 th & 29 th wit . Nothing 
further has turned up since I last wrote to you, and no 
overtures have been since made by the stock-jobbers 
thro M r Skipwith. M r Andreoli deliv d me your enclosure 
of two maps yesterday ; he dines with me to-day. I am 
glad to have the maps altho they are of little consequence 
compared with a number w ch I have collected here & are 
very important. I have made a collection likewise of all 
the histories upon the subject of Louisiana to be found 
here, among w ch is Du Pratz. But I conceive that all 
reasoning upon the subject is at an end. By an arrival 
at Nantz bringing acc ts from New York to y e 4 th of Oct° 
we understand that hostilities have commenced & the 
Spaniards have taken a number of our troops prisoners ; 
that they have advanced into the country of Natitoches 
with 800 Spanish troops and as many savages ; and that 
the troops were collecting to attack them. Things being 
advanced thus far, negociation is at an end. It happens 
very fortunate that the Spaniards are y e aggressors & ob- 
viously within the territory of Louisiana. An extract 
from a New York newspaper of the 4 th of Oct is enclosed, 
and also a copy of a letter from Gen 1 A. to me, & a copy 
of his late note to the Prince of Beneventum. The Gen 1 , 
I understand, sets out for Italy to-day or to-morrow. This 
puts out of question all prospect of negociation thro this 
gov*. If Spain takes the part w ch it is supposed here that 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 351 

she will & sh d become y e ally of Engl d instead of France, 
I think no time ought to be lost in y e U. S. to take pos- 
session of E. & W. Florida, and events will probably dis- 
sipate some of y e money schemes w ch are probably going 
on here. I shall prepare for my return home as fast as 
possible. Do you want a chariot or a coachee, both of 
w ch I have at Santander, or can you procure me a pur- 
chaser for one or the other or both at Madrid ? My 
chariot is London built, in good order: it was my 
mother's, & I w d sell it for 1000 dolls, rather than return 
it to y e U. S. Pray write me on this subject by y e return 
of y e post. What will be yr. own destination in y e event 
of war ? Will it be to return to Engl d or go to y e U. S. ? 
I believe that I shall send M r Sullivan to S* Ander to re- 
ship my effects. My family desire to be remembered to 
you. Believe me always, with great respect, 

Yrs. J. B. 

Paris, 11"* Nov., 1806. 

G. W. Erving, Esq*. 

Mr dear Sir, — I wrote to you on the 11 th ins* with- 
out having anything specially important to communicate 
to you, w ch is the case at present, except to acknowledge 
the rec* of yours of the 4th ins*, to acquaint you that y r 
letter of y e 8 th of Sep. miscarried & never reached me, & 
to refer you to my enclosures of y e 21 st of Sep. last, where 
you will find the continuance & conclusion of the corre- 
spond ce between Gen. A. & me to that time. Since w ch I 
have had a further correspond 06 with him w ch I shall en- 
close you shortly. The last letter of 1501 discloses some- 
thing very important & shews that he has had private 
instructions very different from those common to us both. 
There has been strange conduct somewhere, when & how 
it will be fully explained I know not. The Presid* has 


doubtless been amused & deceived with inefficient propo- 
sitions w ch they will not or dare not attempt to execute. 
Time will discover them and the projectors. The Marq 8 
Yrujo, it is said, has rec d full powers to treat at Washing- 
ton, & the Spaniards are making inroads upon Louisiana 
with a considerable force, which will be opposed. These 
circumstances of course will put an end to all prospect of 
negociation for the present, & we must wait the event of 
these measures & new instructions. The Paris papers 
are doubtless rec d at Madrid, & give you the details of 
the campaign in Prussia. Nothing seems to be s d of the 
Eussian forces, but they are doubtless preparing for a 
rencontre. Sh d they be defeated, w ch there is too much 
reason to apprehend that they will be, Europe must sub- 
mit to y e yoke of this gov*, perhaps the world become 
tributory to it. Let me know how y e Prince con- 
ducts sine his late proclamation ; if he thinks it not well 
understood & that he will not be punished for it, he is 
mistaken. Hesse Cassel affords a striking- evidence of the 
policy w ch will be observed as well as of the punishm* w ch 
will be inflicted ! We have all been much afflicted with 
severe colds. My family desire to be remembered to 
you. Believe me always, with great regard, 

Yours, &c a . 
Paris, Nov. 18, 1806. 

G. W. Erving, Esqb. 

My d b Sir, — My letters of the 11th & 18th ins* re- 
main unacknowledged. I have rec d your favors of the 
6th & 10th ins* within these two days. I am glad to ob- 
serve by the first that you have made up yr. mind to 
settle in yr. native country, & 1 presume place. Your 
plan I think judicious & proper, but you "ought to recol- 
lect that if you mean to establish yrself & form a family 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 35 

of your own, w ch on every acc° will prove most conciliat- 
ing & satisfactory, especially to a man who does not 
mean to become a prey to the depravity of his own pas- 
sions, who means to make & conciliate a friend, i. e., a 
real & substantial one, who will participate in his pains 
as well as pleasures, & who can have no interest discord- 
ant to his own, permit me to say that it is high time that 
you set ab* it ; " Dum loquimur fugit invida aetas," and 
that you sh d abandon youthful galantries & sh d cease yr. 
attempts to console yourself in the indiscriminate em- 
braces of corrupt women whose debaseing influence will 
in the end unfit you for the more mature & rational 
pleasures of connubial life & will be y e means of leaving 
a void without a friend or those attachm ts w ch are neces- 
sary to render the evening of life tranquil & satisfactory. 
These observations spring from yr. letter added to some 
reports w ch have circulated here. They are made with y e 
best intentions, & I hope you will not take them amiss. 

1501 has returned, afraid, I suppose, of taking upon 
himself the responsibility of quitting his post at this time, 
altho I have no doubt a new concerted plan is on foot to 
again bewilder & deceive y e administration, & in proof of 
it Is. set out for Holland at the same time that 1501 pro- 
posed his journey to Italy. A short time will unfold 
things w ch will make y e administration repent of their mis- 
placed confidence. We have reports here that a treaty 
with Engl d is concluded by our commiss rs . Our affairs 
there have derived very little advantage from our friend's 

With respect to the efforts you mention, they may 
afford conversation & mirth to Paris belles & beauxs, but 
they will throw no impedem* in y e way of y e Emperor & 
y e extension of his power ; she has but one step left, to 
abandon Europe, transport the gov* to the colonies, enter 
into alliances with Engl d & y e U. S. & establish free trade 
& intercourse with all the world. 



Engl d too, sh d y e war continue, will not stand upon y e 
most secure footing. National bankruptcy is talked of. 
and warmly recommended by some politicians, & sh d it 
take place the rotten branches of royalty may be blown 
away & a new & improved system of free gov* be substi- 
tuted, w ch by giving a motive to every man to defend y e 
soil may prove the most complete barrier to the ambition 

of , & may leave all the resources of the country to 

be applied to the continuance of their marine establishing 
Pray continue to advise me of every change taking place 
with you. My family desire to be remembered to you. 
Believe me always, with great respect, d r Sir, 

Yours, &c. 
Nov. 26 th , 1806. 

P. S. A part of my correspd ce is enclosed. 

G. W. Erving, Esq*. 

My d r Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 18th & 26th ult° & 
a few lines on y e 2 d ins 1 , enclosing a copy of the late im- 
perial Decree declaring the British Islands in a state of 
blockade, &c\ The orders carrying the decree into more 
effectual execution or limiting & restricting its operation 
have not yet been published by the ministers directed to 
execute it ; but there is no doubt that all vessels bound 
to G. Britain or Ireland will be subjected to capture & 
will be condemned if brot into France by French priva- 
teers. British property it is said to a great am° has been 
sequestered at Paris ; & at Hamburg, Lubeck & the other 
free cities of Germany as well as in every one in w ch the 
French army has penetrated. It is every where con- 
demned, and British merchandize is confiscated let it be- 
long to Whom it may. If the British cabinet adopt coun- 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN". 355 

ter declarations, w ch may be expected, the war will take a 
new character & will probably become barbarous beyond 
example. In this conflict wrought up to the highest 
pitch of excitement on all sides, what part the U. S. will 
be obliged to take, whether G. B. will insist upon their 
taking a part or whether she will not be necessarily 
drawn into it, much is to be said on both sides. On the 
one side all our commerce lies openly exposed, without 
a ship to protect it, whilst the mysterious conduct of 
Spain seems to render it necessary that we sh d take 
forcible possession of East & W. Florida; on the other 
hand the pacific policy of the administration, added 
to y e ill-policy of being drawn into the contests of the 
European nations, offer strong motives to pocket insults 
& submit to the inconveniences w ch accompany the present 
posture of our affairs. The President's, situation is critical 
& embarrassing & calls for all y e political wisdom & pru- 
dence he possesses; but whether Prudence herself can keep 
us out of the contest is still a question ? 

Yr. letter of y e 22 d ult° came to hand last evening & I 
observe what has been yr. conversation with yr. friend, 
but I fear nothing can revive the proposed negociation 
under present circumstances. Isquierdo is in Holland, & 
I am assured has no powers. 1501 has returned, but is 
thinking more of finding a salve for past folly than of 
endeavouring to procure an adjustm* of our affairs. I 
despair of the influence of any steps w ch may be taken 
by our gov 1 , any w ch w d have shewn the least decision 
the last year w d have proved effectual. Nothing, I fear, 
now will. The Emperor is determined, following y e 
steps of L d Chatham; to conquer the French colonies in 
Germany. Poland is revolutionizing, where a winter's 
campaign is to be carried on with Russia ; & sh d the 
latter be beaten, as may be expected, the Emperor may 
plant his standards at Petersburg the next spring. 
Empire follows the track of a conquering army as the 


winds at the equator follow the sun, & where its victories 
will. not extend it is impossible to conjecture. We must 
leave political events to time & chance to devellope ; I 
apprehend my speculations will throw but little light 
upon them ! 

I rec d late letters from my friends who were well on y e 
23 d of Oct . No news of any kind & nothing s d ab l the 
Spaniards & Indians at y e Sabine river, therefore I 
suppose that y e news we had was a false alarm. My 
family desire to be remembered to you. M r Sullivan has 
gone to renew yr. subscription for the Gaz. de France. 
Believe always, w th great regard, yrs., &c. 

Paris, Dec. 6, 1806. 


G. W. Erving, Esq k . 

My d r Sir, — I am to acknowledge y e rec fc of yr. favor 
of y e 16th ins*, and altho I do not recollect enough of 
my letter w ch enclosed the late Decree to say what it 
contained, as it was written in haste & not copied, I am 
glad that it has given occasion to yr. opinions upon 
the subject of it. An English retaliation of y e decree 
I have had reason to apprehend, & y e necessary con- 
sequences of it I am afraid we shall experience by y e 
plunder of our commerce. I say plunder of our com- 
merce, because y e British cabinet has availed itself of 
every pretence to do it when it c d think itself justified 
by y e conduct of its enemies. Indeed our reports here 
by y e way of Holland, & from as high authority as 
Willinks & C°, are that war between Engl d & y e U. S. 
is inevitable ; that y e negociation is broken up without 
hopes of being renewed, & that every thing bears a 
hostile appearance if it is not open war. From whence 
arises this sudden change, say you ? Did you not write 

1806.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 357 

ine that y e treaty was upon the eve of being signed? 
Yes : but the imperial Decree has intervened, & I suppose 
if y e truth was known we shd. find that in order to make 
a great & successful sweep of our European commerce 
the mom* the decree was rec d in Engl d private orders 
were issued to send in all neutrals bound to France or to 
the countries in alliance with her, and that our vessels 
are carried into Engl d in great numbers. I draw 
this opinion from y e reports & from y e few vessels w ch 
have lately arrived upon y e west coast of France, whilst 
in y e Mediterranean the arrivals from y e U. S. are nu- 
merous beyond example. At any rate some very impor- 
tant measure has been taken w ch implicates y e peace of 
y e U. S. With respect to our affairs with Spain, they 
remain in appearance in statu quo ; there has been a 
new scheme of speculation devised- & perhaps is car- 
rying into execution at this moment. Y e plan is to 
procure a grant of from 3 to 6 mil 8 of acres of land 
from Spain upon a small consideration per acre, to be 
ratified & confirmed by y e treaty of cession as a sine 
qua non. Iz — was to procure y e grant, and Iz., P., 1501 
& their associates were to become the C° & divide y e 
spoil. This information was lodged with me yesterday, 
& I beg that you will endeavour to ascertain whether 
there has been a grant of land made or proposed in 
either Louisiana or the Floridas, & to whom ? y e quantity 
of land, its situation, or its discription, if not a copj^ of it, 
i. e., if such a step has been taken. It is s d that y e 
P. of M. was applied to, but refused to have anything 
to do with it. I had reason to think something of y e 
kind had been upon y e carpet more than six weeks since ; 
& that something is or has been hatching or may have 
been forwarded to y e Presid* I have no doubt. I am 
sorry to see what I do ; our country possessing no politi- 
cal influence here, & its agents treated with contempt, 
& whether deservedly or not, time will determine. If 


any thing turns up I shall write you ; dont fail to let 
me know what you can ascertain concerning y e grant 
of land. My family desire to be remembered to you. 
Believe me always with great regard, yours, &c a . 

Paris, Dec. 31, 1806. 


London, January 16 th , 1807. 

Sir, — We have the pleasure to inform you that we 
concluded a treaty of amity, navigation, & commerce 
with this government on the 31 ulto., and that M r 
Purviance sailed with the treaty for the United States 
on the 11 th instant. Presuming that a knowledge of 
this interesting event and of the general character and 
important stipulations of the treaty may be satisfactory 
to you and useful to our country, we hasten to commu- 
nicate it to you. We make this communication however 
in confidence, as we do a like one to Gen 1 Armstrong, 
and that it may be delivered in safety we commit our 
dispatches to Major Hunt, who proposes to set out im- 
mediately for Paris. 

The treaty touches all the subjects which are com- 
prized in its title. It regulates the commercial in- 
tercourse between the United States and the British 
dominions in Europe on principles of strict reciprocity, 
equally in respect to the duties on vessels and goods 
or produce. Each party has a right to raise the tonnage 
duty on the vessels of the other, in its own ports, to a 
level with that which is paid by its vessels in the ports 
of the other party. Neither party can impose higher 

* This letter and its postscript, both of which are in the handwriting of a clerk or sec- 
retary, are written on four pages of an ordinary letter sheet. Apparently the document 
was laid first before Mr. Pinkney, who signed both the letter and the postscript, leaving 
room for Mr. Monroe to sign above him, and Mr. Monroe inadvertently signed onfy 
once. — Eds. 


duties on the produce or manufactures of the other than 
are imposed on the like articles from every other country, 
and all countervailing or discriminating duties on such 
articles to encourage the navigation of one party at 
the expence of the other are prohibited. The intercourse 
with India is placed nearly on the same footing it held 
by the treaty of 1794. This part of the subject gave 
us, in consequence of the great jealousy of the India 
Company, much trouble, created great delay, and was 
finally not arranged entirely to our satisfaction. We 
are however pursuaded that the arrangements made will 
be on the whole approved. The trade with the W. 
Indies is left open for future adjustment, each party 
retaining the right to regulate it in the interim as it 
thinks fit. This right was reserved to enable the United 
States to counteract any unfair regulations of that trade 
by the British government, if such should be made. 
In favour of neutral rights some important regulations 
have been entered into. The great question of that 
trade with enemies' colonies is placed, as we presume, 
on a good footing. The productions of such colonies 
on being landed in the United States and paying a duty 
of two per cent to our gov*, may be carried to Europe 
to the parent country, and of course to every other, in 
the same ship and by the same proprietor. And in like 
manner the manufactures and productions of the parent 
and other countries may be carried to the colonies, 
on being landed in the United States and paying there a 
duty of one per cent. Provisions are not contained in 
the list of contraband of war, nor are tar and turpintine 
except when destined to a place of naval equipment. 
The jurisdiction of the United States is acknowledged 
to the distance of five marine miles from their coast in 
favor of their merchant vessels and those of other powers 
who may admit the same limit. The ships of war of all 
nations are left on the ordinary doctrine of the publick 


law respecting them. Several other points are placed on 
more advantageous ground than they have heretofore 
held. The topick of impressment is not arranged by 
treaty, but an understanding is obtained on it which it is 
presumed will be satisfactory to our government. By 
one of the articles the rights secured to other nations by 
treaty are confirmed. This stipulation extends of course 
to every interest of such powers, but the priviledges which 
were secured by the treaty between the U. States and 
France of 1803 to the subjects of France and Spain for a 
limited term in the ports of Louisiana were its principal 
object. The only remaining article which it is material 
to mention is one which stipulates that as it is the inten- 
tion of the parties that they should be respectively placed 
on a footing of the most favored nation, should either 
party grant any greater priviledges in navigation and 
commerce to any other power, the other shall immediately 
participate in them : and another which secures a co-oper- 
ation between the two powers to promote a complete 
abolition of the slave trade. 

We have the honor to be, with great respect & esteem, 
Y r m. hi. servants. 

James Bowdoin Esq*, W M PlNKNEY. 

&c, &c, &c. 

P. S. We omitted to mention in its proper place that 
the article relative to our trade with enemies' colonies, 
while it is understood to protect by positive concession on 
the part of Great Britain an intercourse with such colo- 
nies as well in the East Indies as in the West, if carried 
on as the article prescribes, does not in any degree preju- 
dice (with a view either to the future or the past) the 
question now depending before the Lords Commissioners 
of Appeal as to the legality of a direct or continuous com- 
merce between enimies' colonies in the East Indies and 
Europe, including the parent states. Upon the subject of 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 361 

blockade, we think that something has been gained, not 
only by the treaty itself but by a written declaration of 
the British commissioners delivered to us at the time of 
the signature of the treaty, in which last a blockade is in 
effect defined with as much precision and as advanta- 
geously for the general interests of neutral trade as could 
be expected or perhaps desired. 

The article relating to contraband contains a distinct 
abandonment of a most vexatious pretention, which has 
not only received judicial countenance in this country but 
has been sanctioned by the Orders of Council of 1803, to 
extend the penalty to which a trade in contraband of war 
is regularly liable to a resumed or return voyage after the 
noxious articles have been deposited. 

Ja s Monroe. 


G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

Dear Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 31 st ult°; since w ch 
I have rec d y r favor of y e 12th ult°, and the day before 
yesterday yr. accounts of y e Spanish spoliations. I thank 
you for the trouble you have taken, & shall be glad to be 
furnished with any alterations which may be from time to 
time required through further information. I shall be 
obliged to you for your & M r Young's opinions as to the 
aggregate amount of all y e spoliations & also what part 
thereof may be chargeable to depredations committed 
under y e Spanish flag between y e years 1794 & 1799, & 
what part thereof under the French flag & carried into 
Spanish ports in those years ? What part thereof under 
pretence of y e breach of y e Spanish colonial laws ? & what 
part for illegal captures since y e year 1799 ? Should we 
proceed to a negociation, a knowledge of these circum- 
stances, or at least the best opinion w ch can be collected, 


may become very essential. I am aware that some un- 
certainty must result from these enquiries, but I consider 
that you & M r Young must be able to give better opin- 
ions upon this subject than any body else, & I hope that 
neither you nor he will excuse yourselves. 

With respect to y e negociation, it remains in y e same 
inexplicable state it has all along been, & at present 
there is no appearance of a change. Nevertheless y e 
Emperor & y e Prince of Beneventum are expected to 
shortly return to Paris, & we may soon receive intelli- 
gence from our gov*. We may expect therefore that a 
negociation may be speedily opened or be removed to a 
greater distance than ever. We have been perplexed here 
for some time past with contradictory reports from Engl d . 
When I last wrote to you, I gave you y e reports of prob- 
able hostilities between G. B. & y e U. S., but by later 
acc ts , w ch have y e appearance of authenticity, a treaty 
between y e two countries has been concluded, & y e re- 
spective interests reconciled, but we have rec d no official 
intelligence upon the subject. 

I shall thank you to be particularly attentive in inves- 
tigating whether there has been a grant of lands obtained, 
or likely to be obtained, within y e limits of Louisiana or 
within either of y e Floridas. I will hereafter state to you 
more particularly my reasons for [this] enquiry. I have 
rec d no late news from y e U. S., neither from y e gov* nor 
from my particular friends. Before T conclude I will just 
observe for yr. information that y e late battles with y e 
Russians have been very bloody & obstinate, & have 
produced a very opposite effect from those fought with 
the Prussians! Our family desire to be remembered to 

Believe, always with very great regard, d r Sir, 
Yours, &c a . 

Paris, January 17**, 1807. 

180 7.J JAMES MONROE. 363 



London, Jan* 20 th , 1807. 

Dear Sir, — Our official dispatch will communicate to 
you a just view of the principal stipulations in the treaty 
with this government, which altho' it is not in every 
respect what we wished is still such an one as in my 
judgment will prove advantageous to our country. We 
flatter ourselves therefore that it will be ratified. Your 
remarks sent me last spring were of real use, as they give 
information on some points and directed my attention to 
others to which it was very proper to draw it. The late 
decree of the French gov* (Nov. 21, at Berlin) produced a 
great effect here, and had like to have prevented the for- 
mation of any treaty. The example it furnished this 
gov 11 for blockading the ports of France, Spain, &c, and 
seizing colony produce was so alluring that it was almost 
impossible to resist its influence. Notwithstanding all 
our efforts to prevent it, this gov* finally declared to us 
in signing the treaty that if France executed that decree 
against the United States, and they submitted to it that it 
would immediately reciprocate the same policy against 
France. It is certain, so strong is the party in favor of 
the doctrines of the book called War in Disguise, that if 
France furnishes by her conduct any pretext for it it will 
be hastily taken advantage of. It is in my opinion equally 
certain that if France respects our neutral rights that G. 
Britain will do it. Thus you see how delicately we are 
circumstanced and how dependent our future prosperity 
as a neutral party is on the conduct of France. I make 
these suggestions to you in strict confidence, for all these 
concerns are properly (in regard to France) in the hands 
of our minister there, and great care should be taken nei- 
ther to interfere with his rights or lessen his responsability. 
This business being done, I propose to sail with my family 


sometime about April for the U. States. I shall have 
opportunities to write you hereafter before I sail, of which 
I shall certainly take advantage. Will you be so good as 
to inform Mr. Erving (at my desire) that we have con- 
cluded a treaty. Tell him in cypher what you deem ma- 
terial, and express to him my regret that I have not since 
been able to write him, owing to the nature and urgency 
of my duties; having really and inadvertently lost lately 
a private opportunity to Madrid. I beg to refer you for 
other details to Major Hunt, who is a very worthy, well 
informed man ; I presume well known to you. Mrs. 
Monroe and our daughter desire their best regards to 
Mrs. Bowdoin & Miss Winthrop, to which be so good as 
to add mine to the ladies and to Mr. Sullivan. I hope to 
hear from you by Major Hunt, and as often by other op- 
portunities as safe ones offer. I sincerely wish you health 
and at a suitable time a safe return to our country, where 
I hope we shall have the pleasure of meeting again. I am, 
dear Sir, with great regard, 

Very truly & sincerely yrs. 

Jas. Monroe. 


Paris, Jan. 25th, 1807. 
G. W. Erving, Esq e . 

My d r Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 20th ins*, since w ch 
I have rec d your favor of y e 10th, & notice with pleasure 
yr. intention of going to Aranjuez & I hope you may be 
able to ascertain y e enquiry I requested ab* land. With 
respect to y e imperial decree it appears as yet to have pro- 
duced no effect in Engl d , on y e contrary all our vessels w ch 
have been visited by y e British ships upon this coast have 
been treated with y e greatest respect, & y e present min- 
isterial papers are laying claim to popularity in Engl d 
grounded upon their honest & friendly disposition to 

o a r v 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 36- 

wards y e American commerce, w ch their opponents say 
they had the intention of plundering & bringing on a 
war. A treaty has been undoubtedly made, and I sin- 
cerely hope that it may not prove an injurious one like 
y e last, & that our carrying trade has not been sacrificed 
in any material point ; but I have my fears from y e 
manner in w ch M r M. wrote me upon y e subject. I per- 
fectly agree with you, that y e present is y e moment for 
pushing them to concede equitable terms, especially as 
such terms must prove essentially for the permanent in- 
terest of both countries. The administration, altho I by 
no means think it calculated for war, was fortunate in 
passing y e recriminating act, which in spite of all y e 
odium w ch has been thrown upon it has turned out a 
politic one, not that it promised an efficient operation, 
except as it served to shew that y e U. S. w d not longer 
bear with further depredations upon their commerce, 
without taking y e hazard of an open rupture ; our af- 
fairs settled with England, y e U. S. will be more at lei- 
sure & may with y e more safety recriminate upon Spain 
her perfidious conduct & punish her if she persists in a 
way which may strike at y e last remnant of her respect- 
ability as a nation, altho I think y e U. S. will not pro- 
ceed further for y e present than probably to take y e 
Floridas & perhaps to place y e boundaries of Louisiana 
in y e Rio del Norte. This measure must probably re- 
sult from y e present posture of our affairs, unless timely 
prevented by negociation here or in America. Is — do 
with others is dabbling in corruption, & y e attempt in- 
stead of money they intend to try in land, but while I 
am here they will find it difficult to execute their pro- 
ject ; dont, I pray you, fail making very critical enqui- 
ries upon y e subject agreably to my former requests. 
Grants of land may be antedated, they may be made 
in y e name of some Frenchman or Spaniard or of some 
company ; you must endeavour to acertain if any large 


tract or tracts have been granted within y e Floridas or 
Louisiana, to whom, & if possible to procure a copy of 
y e grant or grants, and when & where made ; if there is 
none made, whether there is any applie I for, &c a , &c a . 

I rec d yr. letter & y e Presid ta message to Congress about 
y e same time ; in respect to y e latter, I w d observe, that 
altho I admire y e general cast of y e Presid*' 3 policy & 
y e prevailing disposition of his administration, breathing 
peace in y e love of it, courting it by y e most mild & im- 
pressive language & drawing y e most lively pictures of its 
consequences, in the reduction of taxes & in y e application 
of y e surplus revenue in public works instead of defensive 
armaments, and altho these agreable reflections belong to 
him as a man, a philosopher & a philanthropist & shew y e 
pure & benign motives of his heart, yet it is a question of 
much doubt, considering y e nature of man, y e human pas- 
sions, & y e actuating principles of nations, whether these 
pleasing pictures can be realised and whether a policy of 
this sort is safe & one in w ch we ought under existing 
circumstances to confide. I confess, between ourselves, I 
have no confidence in them. When I consider the extent 
of our commerce and its vast importance to afford na- 
tional wealth and protection, that it includes all the ac- 
tive capital of our country for the improvem* of our soil 
& for y e establishm* of arts & manufactures, as well as for 
the general protection of our country, I am struck with 
astonishm* when I hear members of Congress saying to y e 
world, & openly avowing the sentiment, that our com- 
merce is of no consequence, that it does not merit pro- 
tection, that merch fcs were a distinct order in y e state, 
that we had no need of them, that they should manage 
& protect their own commerce, &c a . If this is to be y e 
policy, I fear we shall soon be taught y e frightful con- 
sequences of its destruction, & instead of dating a pro- 
gressive & uninterrupted improvem* from y a close of 
our revolutionary war, we shall like y e nations w ch have 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 367 

preceeded have occasion to draw council from our mis- 
takes instead of lessons of advice from y e misfortunes & 
experience of other nations. If you have an influence 
with y e Presid*, if he, by knowing you personally, has 
a confidence in your political opinions, I beg you would 
endeavour to state to him y e dangers of such sentim ts as 
are avowed by y e principal gentlemen who support his 
administration. I have no time to copy my letter, & you 
must take it as you find it, with all its defects. My fam- 
ily desire to be remembered to you. 

Believe me always, with great regard, yours. 

Geo. W m Erving, Esq e . 

My d r Sir, — I have just rec d yr. letter of y e 21st ult°, 
& altho I have but a moment to write by this day's post, 
I notwithstanding will explain to you what I meant by a 
grant of land. I understand that all grants of lands to 
individuals, whether made by a Spanish gov r , minister 
or other person having authority therefor, must be con- 
firmed by the king & must be recorded at Madrid. I 
conclude therefore that if the gov r of y e Floridas, or of 
Louisiana before it was ceded *to y e French gov 11 , had have 
made any grant or grants of the territory, or if a Spanish 
gov 1 * sh d undertake to make a grant of land within the 
limits of y e land now claimed by the U. S. under the 
pretence that it might be within the limits of one of 
y e Spanish colonies, that all such grants must be con- 
firmed by y e king & recorded at Madrid ; my request to 
you as contained in my letter of y e 31st of Dec. was that 
you w d cause the records to be examined to know if there 
had been any late grants made or confirmed within the 
Spanish claims to Louisiana or within either of the Flori- 
das ; or if there were no such grants, whether there had 


been any application made for such, or there was on foot 
a project for the sale or purchase of a large tract of land 
within the limits of Louisiana or of either of the Floridas ? 
My request was grounded upon an information w ch had 
been lodged with me that such a project was on foot, & 
if there was such a one I wished to be apprized of it & 
that y e gov* sh d be also, for fear that Yrujo might pro- 
ceed to treat at Washington & conclude a treaty which 
by confirming all grants made by the King of Spain in- 
discriminately might render an essential injury to y e U. S. 
& deprive our gov* of one of the principal means it might 
expect for an indemnification of y e purchase money. That 
such a project has been on foot I know; & I have a decla- 
ration from a man here who pretends to say that one of 
y e persons concerned actually entrusted the secret to him, 
& that he was to have been employed in executing some 
part of y e plan. The papers here have transcribed what 
they call news from Boston, in w ch it is s d that our differ- 
ences with Spain are upon y e eve of an amicable ad Justus*. 
I confess I did not know how to refuse all credit to y e par- 
agraphs, notwithstanding I have a short letter from M r 
Madison dated y e 2 d Dec. enclosing y e Presid* 3 mess a , un- 
til yr. letter acquaints me that y e Marq s Yrujo has had no 
new powers. I hope, my d r Sir, you will take care to ap- 
prize me of every scheme of speculation w ch may be carry- 
ing on at Madrid with a view of transferring any part of 
y e contested territory from y e U. S. I sh d be sorry to be 
made y e dupe of any speculating scheme, or not to give 
due notice to y e gov* in case any such sh d be attempted. 
I do not wish to sound an alarm without occasion, &' it 
is on this acc° I have written to you making the enquiries 
w ch I have. My family desire to be remembered to you. 
Believe me always with great regard, yours, &c a . 

Feb. 3d, 1807. 

P. S. I do not precisely understand what you mean when 
you say that y* visiting \_Pa~\ris is now oat of y e question. 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 369 

G. W M Erving, Esq r . 

My d b Sir, — I rec d your fav r of y e 18th ult° y e last 
evening, & I am glad to find that you understand what 
I wish to be investigated. The principles on w ch grants 
of land within y e Floridas or Louisiana have been made, 
& y e ordonnances of y e Spanish gov* relating thereto, would 
prove a very valuable acquisition to our gov fc to prevent 
y e confirmation of fraudulent grants, especially sh d the 
Floridas be obtained, whether by conquest or purchase. 

With respect to grants within Louisiana, w ch did not 
actually become a Spanish colony until 1769, Don 0' Riley, 
the first gov r of it, regulated the number of acres in the 
ratio of y e number of slaves, horses, cattle, &c a ; whether 
a man was single or married ? if the first was 25 y rs of age, 
had settled, enclosed & cultivated a given number of acres 
for three yrs., he was entitled to a grant of 200 acres ; if 
the latter, & he had settled & improved as above, he was 
entitled to a grant of 200 acres for himself, 100 for his 
w 7 ife, 50 acres for each child, & 25 acres for each slave, pro- 
vided y e whole should not exceed 800 acres. There were 
other conditions of settlem*, such as making bridges, clear- 
ing roads, &c a . The requisite formalities were, that y e 
settler on taking up a tract sh d give notice of it to y e com- 
mand 1 " of y e post within w ch y e land might lie, who when 
y e conditions of set tie m* were performed gave a certificate 
to be presented to y e intendant of y e land office at New 
Orleans, when y e gov r thereupon issued a patent : a prof- 
fessional man or a mechanic w r as entitled to a grant 
regulated as above without being required to fulfill the 
conditions of settlem*. All other grants were required, 
as I understand, to be under y e sign manual of y e King. 
I mention these circumstances, w ch I have accidently ob- 
tained, not vouching for their correctness, that you may 
.see whether there are considerable grants w ch have been 



obtained in any other way ? where and on what consider- 
ations they have been made ? & whether any considerable 
portion of y e country has been alienated by y e Spanish 
gov 1 ? & if any, what ? 

With respect to y e speculators upon our affairs, their 
first project was money to be obtained thro y e sale of our 
public stocks. Defeated in this, as I apprehend they are, 
they attempt a speculation upon y e lands, & y e Prince's 
spy here, said by 1501 to be fully empowered to negociate 
&c a , is quite well disposed, & has been maneuvring in a 
variety of ways to obtain a profitable job ! whilst y e Prince 
himself thro Yrujo has been plotting other schemes to 
replace Louisiana in y e hands of Spain. These plots 
being discovered will probably bring our affairs to an im- 
mediate crisis. If you can ascertain any thing respecting 
a sale or grant of lands to individuals within y e Floridas 
or Louisiana w ch has been lately made, or it may be ante- 
dated, you may depend that it has reference to these 
schemes to be resorted to in case Yrujo's plots sh d not 
succeed. I hope you will leave nothing unessayed to 
procure y e information. 1501 said in company a day or 
two since, that he expects to return home y e present sum- 
mer ! that he intends to travel, &c\ This augurs well, & 

looks very much like a ! for my own part I wish I 

had got leave to retire. I have strongly expressed y e wish 
to y e Presid fc , but' have rec d no reply; nothing however 
shall detain me beyond y e adjustm* of y e Spanish business. 
Sh d you have papers of bulk or consequence to send, M r 
Merrieult is a confidential man & will take charge of 
them. I wish however you w d give me notice in such 
case of their contents, as it will be some time before 
he will return to Paris. 

With respect to news from y e U. S. we have many 
rumours, but as yet nothing certain. From Poland y e 
Emperor's ultimate success becomes daily more & more 
problematical ; y e last affairs have been bloody beyond 


example ; both parties claim y e victory ; but if a victory 
on y e side of France, two or three more such will place y e 
French army in a very critical situation. The tune, you 
may be assured, is very much changed ! I beg that you 
will acquaint me with any information you may procure 
on y e subject of this letter, & with any intelligence you 
may have from y e LJ. S. My family desire to be very 
particularly remembered to you. Believe me always, 
with great regard, very sincerely yours. 

March 5th, 1807. 


Washington, Ap. 2, 1807. 

Dear Sir, — I wrote you on the 10 th of July last, but 
neither your letter of Oct. 20 nor that of Nov. 15 men- 
tioning the receipt of it, I fear it has miscarried. I there- 
fore now inclose a duplicate. As that was to go under 
cover of the Secretary of State's dispatches by any vessel 
going from our distant ports, I retained the polygraph 
therein mentioned for a safer conveyance. None such 
has occurred till now that the U. S. armed brig the 
Wasp, on her way to the Mediterranean, is to touch at 
Falmouth with dispatches for our ministers at London, 
& at Brest with others for yourself and Gen 1 Armstrong. 
I shall deliver the polygraph to the commander of the 
brig to be forwarded to you with this letter. You will 
find it a most invaluable secretary, doing its work with 
correctness, facility, & secrecy. I repeat my request of 
your acceptance of it as a mark of my esteem & respect. 

You heard in due time from London of the signature 
of a treaty there between Great Britain and the United 
States. By a letter we received in January from our 
ministers at London, we found they were making up their 
minds to sign a treaty in which no provision was made 


against the impressment of our seamen, contenting them- 
selves with a note received in the course of their corre- 
spondence from the British negociators, assuring them of 
the discretion with which impressments should be con- 
ducted, which could be construed into a covenant only by 
inferences, against which its omission in the treaty was a 
strong inference, and its terms totally unsatisfactory. By 
a letter of Feb. 3 they were immediately informed that no 
treaty not containing a satisfactory article on that head 
could be ratified & desiring them to resume the negocia- 
tions on that point, the treaty having come to us actually 
in the inadmissible shape apprehended, we of course hold 
it up until we know the result of the instructions of Feb. 3. 
I have but little expectation that the British government 
will retire from their habitual wrongs in the impressment 
of our seamen, & a certainty that without that we will 
never tie up our hands by treaty from the right of passing 
a non importation or non intercourse act to make it her 
interest to become just; this may bring on a war of com- 
mercial restrictions. To shew however the sincerity of 
our desire for consiliation I have suspended the non im- 
portation act. This state of things should be understood 
at Paris & every effort used on your part to accommodate 
our differences with Spain, under the auspices of France, 
with whom it is all important that we should stand on 
terms of the strictest cordiality. In fact, we are to depend 
on her & Eussia for the establishment of neutral rights by 
the treaty of peace, among which should be that of taking 
no persons by a belligerent out of a neutral ship, unless 
they be the soldiers of an enemy. Never did a nation act 
towards another with more perfidy & injustice than Spain 
has constantly practised against us ; & if we have kept our 
hands off of her till now, it has been purely out of respect 
to France and from the value we set on the friendship of 
France. We expect therefore from the friendship of the 
Emperor that he will either compel Spain to do us justice, 


or abandon her to us. We ask but one month to be in 
possession of the city of Mexico. No better proof of the 
good faith of the U. S. could have been given, than the 
vigour with which we have acted, & the expense incurred 
in suppressing the enterprize meditated lately by Burr 
against Mexico. Altho' at first he proposed a separa- 
tion of the Western country and on that ground received 
encouragement and aid from Yrujo according to the usual 
spirit of his government towards us, yet he very early 
saw that the fidelity of the Western country was not to 
be shaken, and turned himself wholly towards Mexico, & 
so popular is an enterprize on that country in this, that 
we had only to lie still, & he would have had followers 
enough to have been in the city of Mexico in six weeks. 
You have doubtless seen my several messages to Congress 
which gave a faithful narrative of that conspiracy. Burr 
himself, after being disarmed by our endeavors of all his 
followers, escaped from the custody of the court of Mis- 
sisipi, but was taken near Fort Stoddert, making his way 
to Mobile, by some country people, who brought him on 
as a prisoner to Richmond, where he is now under a 
course for trial. Hitherto we have believed our law to 
he that suspicion on probable grounds was sufficient cause 
to commit a person for trial, allowing time to collect wit- 
nesses till the trial ; but the Judges here have decided 
that conclusive evidence of guilt must be ready in the 
moment of arrest or they will discharge the malefactor. 
If this is still insisted on Burr will be discharged, be- 
cause his crimes having been sown from Maine thro' 
the whole line of the western waters to N. Orleans, we 
cannot bring the witnesses here under four months. The 
fact is that the federalists make Burr's cause their own, & 
exert their whole influence to shield him from punish- 
ment, as they did the adherents of Miranda, and it is 
unfortunate that federalism is still predominant in our 
judiciary department, which is consequently in opposi- 


tion to the legislative & executive branches, and is able 
to baffle their measures often. Accept my friendly salu- 
tations & assurances of great esteem and respect. 

Th: Jefferson. 

G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — Ab fc a week since I rec d your favour of 
y e 5th of Mar. & I sh d have sooner replied to it, had I 
have had anything of importance to say ; but being op- 
pressed with writing and not very well & in hopes of 
having something to communicate from y e gov* or at least 
from y e U. S. I defered it. But of late we have had no 
arrivals & I have seen no papers later than y e 8 th of Jan. 
Your letters of y e 22 Dec. & of y e 3d of Jan. were duly 
rec d If you wrote me on y e 5th it has been miscarried. 

Yr. obliging letter of y e 21st ult° I rec d y e last evening, 
& I am glad to see your reply to M r Cevallos's note. I am 
desireous to know what assurances he has given you that 
y e order in question will not reach the vessells of y e U. S. 
bound to England, & that it is not a virtual or an open & 
declared violation & repeal of y e treaty with y e U. S. Gen 1 
Armstrong, I understand, rec d assurances from this gov fc , 
that y e French decree was not intended to molest Ameri- 
can vessels bound to Engl d , only to prevent them from 
coming from Engl d to France with a view of excluding 
the sale of English manufactures in France. This expla- 
nation however has not been publickly given. I believe 
I shall write him a few lines to ascertain what passed be- 
tween him & y e Minister of the Marine upon this subject. 
The Spanish gov* cannot think of giving a construction 
to y e decree, w ch the French themselves do not. I hope 
however that y e measures of our gov* will shew to Spain 
the necessity of becoming more circumspect in her con- 
duct than she has lately shown herself towards y e U. S. 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 375 

By late acc ts from Engl d new changes are taking place ;' 
the late ministry are put down, and it is s d that y e Dke. of 
Portland is to be prime minister, Dke. of Rutland L d L* of 
Ireland. L ds Eldon, Hawkesbor , &c a , Geo Rose, M r Perci- 
val & others are to form y e administration. What these 
vacillations will end in it is impossible to say ; they can 
answer no good purpose, but must have a tendency to 
confusion & to weaken their efforts in y e present contest. 
The Emperor must see these divisions with pleasure, when 
his situation has become by all acc ts quite embarrassing. 
It has arisen from y e ill-judged measure of carrying on a 
winter's campaign in a climate better suited to y e troops 
of his enemies than his own. But as his military talents 
are transcendant he will probably rise superior to y e diffi- 
culties w ch surround him. In w ch case you may be assured 
he will not forget the plottings ag sfc him at Madrid, now 
made certain by what has been exposed in Sir Home Pop- 
ham's trial. How y e Prince will be able to make his peace I 
know not. I wish you w d let me know if M r M. has been as 
inattentive in writing to you as he has been to me. If he 
has written pray let me know y e general contents of his 
letters ; pray continue to investigate y e subject of my late 
letters. My family desire to be remembered to you. 

Believe me always, with great regard, very respectfully 

April 4th, 1807. 


Geo. W. Erving, Esq*. 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 4th & 6th in- 
stant ; y e latter enclosed important letters from the Min- 
ister of Marine, M. Deere, to Gen 1 Armstrong. The last 
evening I rec d yr. obliging letter of y e 6th ins fc with its 
enclosure, for w ch I thank you & also for the intelligence 
of y e ratification of y e British treaty. I ought to ac- 
quaint you that it has not been ratified by y e British gov*, 


but is to be returned for that purpose. M r Monroe, I un- 
derstand, waits for it ; but whether y e late changes in y e 
ministry are favourable to y e ratification or will throw im- 
pediments in y e way of it is somewhat doubtful. With 
respect to your letters, I believe by recurring to those I 
have written to you, you will find that they have been 
regularly acknowledged. We are daily expecting intelli- 
gence from the gov* ; but as yet we know not what line 
of conduct will be adopted towards Spain. Some appear- 
ances indicate decision & measures of an unequivocal 
nature, but the President's message of y e 16th of Jan. 
relative to Col° Burr's conspiracy seems to have a con- 
trary appearance ; there was certainly a very considerable 
force collected at New Orleans in Jan. last & such a one 
as Col Burr's attempts could not authorize ; & by letters 
rec d from New Orleans written y e middle of Jan a , many 
people without any authority supposed that from y e force 
collected, active measures against one or both y e Floridas 
were intended ; but all is conjecture upon this subject. If 
you receive anything w ch may serve to explain it I hope 
you will give me y e earliest notice of it, as I shall take care 
to do on my part as soon as I receive any thing w ch may 
be depended on. Dont fail to keep in mind the land pro- 
ject of w ch I have so frequently written you. 

M rs B., Miss W. 3 & M r S. desire to be remembered to 
you ; y e latter setts out for Switzerland in two or three 
days; he expects to be absent a month. 

Believe me always, with very great regard, 
My dear Sir, yours, &c a . 

Paris, April 18th, 1807. 


Washington, April 21 th , 1807. 

Dear Sir, — By the U. S. ship Wasp I imbrace the 
opportunity of congratulating you on the Republican 

1807.] HENRY DEARBORN. 377 

triumph in the Massachusetts election ; there is no re- 
maining doubt of a very handsome majority on the side 
of true principles. The treaty negotiated in London by 
our ministers is not as satisfactory as had been hoped and 
expected ; farther amicable negotiations will be proposed, 
but the late change said to have taken place in the 
British administration may render ultimate success doubt- 
full. As we ask for nothing but good neighborhood and 
fair dealing, with sound and equal reciprosity, we ought 
to expect no serious objections on the part of Great 
Britain, but notwithstanding the importance of our trade 
with them at present, and its regular & constant increase, 
it would seem that remaining prejudice and national 
jealousies on the score of our rapid increase of strength 
and commerce absorbs all other considerations, and crowds 
the real interest of the nation as well as all regard to 
justice quite out of sight ; as~ to justice, unless compeled 
by immediate danger or some other sinister motive, the 
old nations of the world appear not to consider it as 
a constituent part of their political or national creed, we 
have therefore nothing to expect from that quarter in 
any of our negotiations, except with the Indians of this 

It does not appear that any progress has been made in 
relation to our affairs with Spain, nothing, I presume, will 
be done without the direct aid of Nepolion, and he ap- 
pears to have so many other objects of importance to 
attend to as to render it very doubtfull whether he will 
find sufficient leisure for some time to come to decide on 
what Spain shall do ; if we could be allowed to settle the 
business with Spain without any interference of France, 
we would very soon put an end to the negotiations, and 
altho peace is the general wish of our country there 
would be very little reluctance to a brush with Spain, we 
could in a very short time dispossess his Catholic Majesty 
of all his possessions north of the southern extremity of 


the Isthmus of Darien. We do not covet their territories 
or their mines, but they are certainly in our power, as 
much so as the British provinces of Canada, Novascotia, 
& New Brunswick are. I hope any coolness which may 
have existed between yourself & Gen 1 A. has disappeared ; 
you both owe to yourselves, as well as to your country, 
every effort in your power to support the most harmo- 
nious and confidential intercourse, no opinnions can be 
formed here as to which side the apparent want of har- 
mony is imputable ; it is a subject of much regret and 
may have an unfortunate effect. 

Please to request M rs Bowdoin to accept the tender of 
my best respects, while you accept assurances of my high- 
est esteem and best wishes for your health & happiness. 

H. Dearborn. 

Hon l James Bowdoin. 

P. S. From some observations in one of your letters 
to the Secretary of State, it was conjectured that you had 
imbraced some part of J. Randolph's creed, viz., that 
Great Britain is fighting the battles of the world, and 
that she is the only remaining barrier against general 
despotism ; the federalists all adhere to that creed. If 
the U. S. are to rely on the exartions of Britain for the 
preservation of civil liberty, then we are wretched indeed. 
I had presumed that the more the Emperor of France 
extended his dominion in Europe, the less leisure he 
would have for distant objects, that it would require an 
immense military force as well as all his vigilance to hold 
with security the dominions he probably contemplates 
reducing to his control. If he had confined his views in 
Europe to the limits of France as settled by the revolu- 
tion, and had formed such friendly arrangements with his 
neighbors as would have secured the tranquility of his 
dominions at home & abroad, we might have had some 
cause of fear, either from his ambition, his disapprobation 
of our sistem of government, or from a combination with 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. ' 379 

England, to endeavor to divide the U. S. between them. 
But, whether from necessity on the score of self preserva- 
tion, or from inordinate ambition, or a combination of 
both, I will not undertake to deside, he appears to have 
as much business on hand as will probably occupy his 
attention for several years at least. A herd of wolves 
would not, I presume, be considered as a very safe or 
even necessary barrier to a flock of sheep augainst a lion, 
especially if the lion had plenty of other prey within his 
more immediate reach. The wolves in such a case might 
with great rage make war on the lion, not merely because 
he was a lion, but because he was their rival in the busi- 
ness of devouring all other animals fit for food. 

H. D. 

G. TV. Erving, Esq*. 

My dear Sir, — My letter of y e 5th of March acknowl- 
edges yours of y e 18th of Feb., since w cb my letters of y e 
6th & 10th of April remain unacknowledged ; & I have 
rec d yours of y e 5th & 21st of Mar. & of y e 6th, 8th, & 
16th of April. I thank you for the copies of y e Presi- 
dent's message of y e 19th of Feb., M r Lear's circular letter 
of y e 1 st of March, & of your correspondance with y e Span- 
ish ministers. The Minister of Marine's notes to General 
Armstrong & y e judgement of y e C* of Prizes w ch I for- 
warded to you, to w ch I might add if wanted some farther 
judgem ts of y e same court, shew in y e clearest manner that 
this gov* does not mean to interrupt our commerce direct 
to & from y e British islands or to or from y e British colo- 
nies, or in any case except when proceeding direct from 
the British European or colonial ports to the ports of 
France or of her allies. Grounded upon the documents 
forwarded, I think you ought to require that y e explana- 
tion of y e French decree sh d be made as public as y e order 


w ch adopts it ; for by y e unlimited manner in w ch y e Span- 
ish order is expressed the vessels & merchandizes bound 
to y e ports of Engl d or its islands are made liable to 
confiscation, contrary to the intention of y e French gov 11 . 
This circumstance calls for the explanation w ch sh d be 
made public for the benefit as well of Spanish subjects as 
American citizens. The news you gave me concerning 
y e acceptance of y e British treaty turns out to be incor- 
rect ; and it is now a question here what is y e state of 
y e treaty ? A New York paper of y e 10th of Mar. says, 
that y e Presid fc was determined to send it back without 
laying it before y e Senate, owing to an exceptionable 
article concerning y e French decree ; whilst there are 
private letters w ch say, it will be certainly ratified. My 
opinion is, however, that y e middle path will be taken, and 
that it will be again submitted to the British govern m* 
with amendments. 

The administration must be greatly embarrassed from 
its system so purely pacific, and what consequences will 
not result from y e want of decision & principle it is diffi- 
cult to say. Had y e administration not been intangled 
with inofficial propositions & cajoled by a set of schemers 
here it might have triumphed every w r here, but appear- 
ances augur nothing favourable and y e marks of a weak, 
inefficient system are every where exhibited; — distracted 
& divided at home, respected by no foreign power but 
hated by all ! unsettled questions with both Spain & Eng- 
land, with motive enough for France to embark her 
ambitious intrigues in our political concerns, cannot afford 
a pleasant perspective to a man at y e close of his political 
life, sat verbum. I wish him well, but he has bad ad- 
visers ! My [torn] intention is at all hazards to retire. 
What is here suggested] is confidential. , 

My family desire to be remembered to you. Believe 
me always, with great regard, yrs., &c a &c a . 

April 28th, 1807. 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 381 

G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My d e Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 17th, 18th, & 28th 
ultimo, to w ch please to be refered. I am now to acknowl- 
edge your favour of y e 22d, & to acquaint you that we 
are not yet apprized of y e precise situation of our affairs 
with England ; we know not whether y e Senate are called 
together to consider y e treaty or that it is sent back by y e 
President. We have late intelligence that eleven sail of 
our ships have been lately carried into England for adju- 
dication. This gov* however receives y e most favourable 
hopes from y e prospect of our quarrelling with Engl d as 
they know it touches close upon her political existence ; 
but whether they will upon y e credit of these hopes yield 
to y e views of our gov*, or whether if they have y e dispo- 
sition they have an adequate influence over y e Spanish 
councils is somewhat doubtful. Some circumstances indi- 
cate that Spain feels herself more independent in her sit- 
uation than she has been for some time past. To what 
terms can Spain be brot to concede y e Floridas whilst we 
continue on the present system of disavowing all war & 
all preparation for it ? Can this gov* induct her into our 
policy ag 8t one w ch she considers opposed to her interest ? 
This is a question on w ch I sh d be glad of your opinion, and 
I wish you to be particular in stating it. I apprehend 
the moment is arrived which will call for your particular 
attention to ascertain y e views & policy of y e Spanish 
gov* towards y e U. S. and how far it is disposed to be 
acted upon by this gov*. 1501 & an Irishman by y e name 
of O'Mealy set out for Warsaw on Sunday next ; and he 
leaves another Irish refugee for his charge d'affaires. What 
he expects from this step, — whether he is invited to it by 
this gov* in consequence of y e situation of our affairs with 
Engl d , or whether it is grounded on y e orders of our gov* 
or his own particular views, it is impossible to say ; he 


has as yet given me no notice of his going nor shall I en- 
quire into his motives. His conduct to me continues as 
usual inexplicable, base & improper. 

I yesterday rec d dispatches from M r M., dated on y e 20th 
of Jan., in w ch he encloses me his letter to you of y e same 
date ; I herewith send you a copy. He says that both 
you & I have written him in cyphers of w ch they have no 
copies ; for my own part with y e exception of a few lines 
in one of my letters to y e President, I have used no 
cyphers. Pray keep me informed of every movement 
w ch may take place from this to the Spanish gov* & let 
me know what is y e present situation & credit of Isquierdo. 
Dont forget to keep open an easy communication with your 
old friend, you understand me, from whom you drew very 
important information at a critical period the last year. 

With respect to affairs in the North, y e Emperor I am 
convinced was never in a situation w ch called for so full a 
display of his talents as at this time. The Russians are 
in immense force ; Austria refuses supplies to y e French 
armies & is in great force. The military talents of y e 
Russians have been confessed since y e battle of Eylau, 
w ch was not a victory but a drawn battle by y e confession 
of all respectable Frenchmen. The Russians retreated the 
night after y e battle in consequence of Marsh 1 Ney's join- 
ing with a fresh body of troops ; but y e Russians during 
y e battle did not lose an inch of ground, and without y e 
intervention of a bold charge from y e French cavalry 
under Prince Murat w d have obtained a complete victory. 
I mention these circumstances only to shew you that 
things are brot to a very serious issue, & that y e dispute 
with Russia will not be settled in that prompt & ready 
manner in w ch Austria was beaten out of y e coalition by 
y e treaty of Presburg. Adieu, dont fail writing me & 
keeping me informed of every transaction or occurrence. 

My family, with y e exception of M r Sullivan, who is 
gone to Switzerland, desire to be remembered to you. 

Paris, May 8 th , 1807. 

1807.] JAMES MADISON. 38 Q 



Department of State, May 25, 1807. 

Sir, — Your letter of Dec r 2 d came duly to hand. All 
of prior date, as appears by their successive references, 
were equally fortunate. The President has also received 
your two letters of Oct r 20 and Nov r 15. 

It is painful to find that the reserve and mistery which 
have so long enveloped our affairs with Spain still embar- 
rass the efforts to bring them to a proper state. The 
protracted delay is certainly not a little hazardous to the 
peace of the two nations, which has thus far been pre- 
served by the moderation of the United States in spite of 
the folly of the other party. The conduct of Spain is not 
easily explained. Several causes have probably united in 
producing her obstinate repugnance to meet our reason- 
able overtures ; perhaps the most powerful may have 
been a calculation that she would have in any event the 
support of one or other of the two great rivals of Europe, 
and that her dexterity would be able to connect her with 
whichever of them should ultimately be ascendant. It 
would seem impossible, however, that a crisis can be much 
longer procrastinated. The obstructions which are thrown 
in the way of the trade thro' the Mobille, and even of the 
use of the river by the government of the United States for 
public purposes, are kindling a flame which will not be very 
manageable. The last letter from M r Erving which was 
of March 14, communicated the Spanish decree co-operat- 
ing with that of Nov r 21 by the French Emperor, which is 
in terms giving equal latitude with its prototype for dep- 
redations on our commerce, and which, if so executed, 
will add fuel to the flame. M r Erving promises that his 
next letter would not only give explanations on that sub- 
ject, but have something to say as to our affairs generally 
with the Spanish government. 

The enterprize of Col Burr has been stifled. I inclose 


a printed statement of what passed on his examination 
before the Chief Justice, in which you will find an account 
of his arrest, the charges against him, and the opinion of 
the Judge. His trial was to commence on the 22 d . It 
seems not to be doubted that he will be convicted of a 
misdemeanor, if not of treason. The effective measures 
taken to defeat an enterprize understood to be aimed at 
the Spanish possessions are a decisive proof of the good 
faith and honor which govern the Councils of the United 
States, and derive a peculiar lustre from their contrast 
with the intrigues and perfidy of Spain. Besides a series 
of these to be traced thro' a period of years, there is suf- 
ficient reason to believe that at the moment of our exer- 
tions to save Mexico from invasion and revolution 1362. 
518. 1417. 1364. 390. 956. 1193. 542. 66.* [Y sec 
rateing] with 685. 849. 509. 1651. [Burr on the] idea 
that the 1230. 1426. 390. 1201. 1651. 359. 1147. 509. 
[Plot was against y e . Union] It deserves enquiry what 
agencies and intrigues represented the partnership 742. 
44. [at Madrid]. 

The treaty signed with the British commissioners in 
Dec r has not received the approbation of the President. 
An essential objection lay against its want of a provision 
against impressments. In some other respects, it was not 
satisfactory [torw] instructions go to our ministers by the 
Wasp sloop of war, which, on her way from England to 
the Mediterranean, is to touch at a French port to deliver 
this and other dispatches. The late change in the British 
administration, if the new one keeps on its legs, has an 
inauspicious aspect on our affairs with that government ; 
but it is so much the interest on that side, as well as this, 
to avoid extremities that something may be hoped from 
further discussions and explanations. 

* In deciphering these figures Mr. Bowdoin omitted some of the words for which they 
were substituted ; but the general sense is sufficiently clear, — that Yrujo engaged in a 
secret correspondence with Burr with the idea that the latter was engaged in a plot against 
the Uuited States. See Mr. Jefferson's letter, ante, p. 373. — Eds. 

1307.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 385 

Be pleased to accept a late statistical publication here, 
which gives some interesting views of our growing facul- 
ties ; and to be assured of the great esteem and respect 
with which I remain, Sir, 

Your most ob* se*. 

James Madison. 

James Bowdoix, Esq. &c, &c, &c, Paris. 


Paris, 12 June, 1807. 

Sir, — In the letter your Excellency did me the honor 
to write to me on the 30 of frimaire year 13 you were 
pleased to declare that " the French gov fc acknowledges 
that it cannot be indifferent to discussions originating 
from a treaty by which France had ceded Louisiana to 
the United States, and that his Majesty had thought that 
an explanation, made with the good faith which charac- 
terises him, on the Eastern limit of the ceded territory, 
would bring to an end the differences to which this ces- 
sion had given place." 

This declaration could not but be precious to the 
United States, inasmuch as they saw in it a pledge that 
his Majesty's justice would not permit the limits of a ter- 
ritory ceded by him to become a cause of serious contro- 
versy between them and a third power. 

Nor was this confidence shaken by the explinations 
actually given by his Majesty in relation to this eastern 
boundary, since in these his Majesty has declared that all 
the rights acquired by Spain from France in the year 
1762 over this territory, had been retro-ceded to her in 
that of 1800 ; and that whatever these rights thus retro- 
ceded to France in the year 1800 had been, they were 

* This and the four following letters are printed from copies- sent to Mr. Bowdoin by 
General Armstrong. — Eds. 



yielded by her to the United States in that of 1803. 
Your Excellency will permit me for the sake of greater 
perspicuity to employ the very words of this explination, 
viz. "France, in ceding Louisiana to the United States, 
has passed to them all the rights she had acquired from 
Spain over this Colony. She was neither willing nor 
able to yield to them any others : and to leave no doubt 
in this respect, she has repeated in her treaty of the 10 th 
of floreal year 11, the litteral expressions of that of S* 
Udephonso by which she had, two years before acquired 
this colony. By this treaty of the year 9 it was stip- 
ulated, that the acquisition of Louisiana by France was a 
retro-cession ; — that is to say, that Spain rendered lack to 
France what she had received from her in 1762." 

This decision of his Majesty which can neither be mis- 
stated nor mistaken, reduces the controversy between the 
United States and Spain (on the subject of limits) to a 
single question, viz: What before the year 1762 was the 
western boundary of Louisiana ? and on this question the 
United States appeal to the archives of the French Em- 
pire and to the good faith with which its chief will be 
pleased to have their evidence assembled and declared. 

His Majesty will not, I flatter, think the gov* of the 
union importunate on this subject ; he will remember 
that it is now upwards of four years since they be- 
came regularly seized of " an incontestible title to the 
domain and possession " of the territory known by the 
name of Louisiana ; that this title has been derived to 
them directly from his Majesty himself; that they have 
long since honorably discharged all the conditions which 
on their part attached to the transfer ; that unfortunately 
and as they believe without any error of theirs, this ces- 
sion has given rise to a controversy between them and his 
Catholic Majesty ; that they have repeatedly and zeal- 
ously sought by ordinary as well as extraordinary means 
to bring this controversy to an amicable termination, and 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 387 

that among these and the last of them is the present 
appeal to his Majesty, as the mutual friend of the con- 
tending parties. It is quite impossible but that in some 
or all of these circumstances his Majesty will find not 
merely a sufficient justification of the urgent character of 
this application but a sufficient motive also for not longer 
differing the employment of his very just and powerful 

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to your 
Excellency the assurances of my very distinguished 

(Signed) John Armstrong. 

H. Ex. the Prince of Benevent. 


16 June, 1807, Paris. 

Sir, — If I have not, in the letters I have had the 
honor to adress to your Excellency on the 5 th of Febru- 
ary and 12 d instant, spoken of any point in discussion 
between the United States and Spain other than that of 
the western boundary of Louisiana, it has arisen alto- 
gether from the indisposition manifested by the ministers 
of his Catholic Majesty to bring this business to an ami- 
cable termination ; and not because the government I 
have the honor to represent has contracted, or in any 
other way changed, their views in relation to a general 
settlement of differences. And as a new proof of this 
disposition on their part I am instructed to present to 
your Excellency for his Majesty's inspection the terms 
which on those hypotheses the U. S. are willing to take 
as grounds of negociation & arrangement with Spain. 
These hypotheses are ; — 

1° That Spain is unwilling to part with her rights (ter- 
ritorial or other) on the eastern side of the Missisippi : 


2° That Spain is willing to part with that portion only 
of her territory which may lye eastward of the Mis- 
sissipi and westward of the river S e Mark : and 

3° That Spain is willing to part with all the territory 
claimed by her on the eastern side of the Mississipi. 

On the first hypothesis it is proposed that in con- 
formity to the opinion given by his Majesty the Emperor 
and King on the 30 th of frimaire year 13, the rivers Mis- 
sissipi and Ibberville, and the lakes Maurepas and Pont- 
chatrain, be deemed and taken as the eastern limit of 
Louisiana ; and that the river Bravo (or Norte) (from its 
mouth to its source) and the mountains of Mexico to the 
60 degree of north latitude, be taken and established as 
the western limit of that territory, agreeably to the act 
of the French King (dated at Fontainebleu the 14 th of 
Sept., 1712) designating the limits and constituting the 
gov* of Louisiana, and agreeably also to the more recent 
declaration made by Monsieur Laussat, Commissary of 
France charged with the delivery of this territory to the 
United States under the treaty of 1803. 

On the 2 nd hypothesis it is proposed, that in proportion 
as Spain shall cede her rights between the rivers S fc Mark 
and Mississipi to the United States, in the same propor- 
tion will the United States yield their pretensions on 
their western limit to Spain ; and if all the rights of 
Spain between the rivers aforesaid (S* Mark & Mississipi) 
be ceded to the United States, they (the United States) 
will not hesitate to yield to his Catholic Majesty all the 
country between the rivers Bravo and Collerado. 

On the 3 d hypothesis it is proposed, that for the entire 
cession of the Floridas (East & West) to the United 
States, they (the U. S.) will pay to Spain {blank] millions 
of dollars and will take as their western boundary the 
Sabine river (from its mouth to its source) and a line 
which shall leave within the United States all streams 
and all countries watered by streams running directly or 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 389 

indirectly into the river Mississipi ; or, the United States 
in consideration of the cession of the two Floridas as 
afforesaid will pay to Spain [blank] millions of dollars and 
take as their western boundary the river Collerado (from 
its mouth to its source) and the ridge or high-lands which 
divide the waters flowing into the rivers Mississipi and 
Missouri from those running into the river Bravo & the 
Gulph of Mexico. 

On either hypothesis, those citizens of the United 
States who were creditors of Spain before the year 1802, 
shall be paid by his Catholic Majesty, either in the mode 
pointed out by the non-executed treaty of 1802, or by 
the United States (who shall in that case be credited to 
the amount payable by Spain out of the sum which shall 
be agreed upon as the price of the Floridas) or by Spain 
herself in bills drawn on her American colonies. 

All debts due by either government to the citizens of 
the other, and contracted since the date of the aforesaid 
non-executed treaty, shall be made the subject of future 

I flatter myself that his Majesty will find in these terms 
not merely a disposition on the part of the United States 
to terminate this business amicably but to do it in a 
manner which cannot fail to promote the true interests 
of both nations. 

I pray your Excellency, &c. 

(Signed) John Armstrong. 

His Excellency the Prince of Benevent. 

Extrait d'une lettre datee de Tilsit, 6 Juillet, 1807. 

"Je n'ai pas habituellement repondu aux lettres que 
vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire. Les mouvemens 
d'un voyage permettent moins de suivre une correspond- 
ance de tous les instans ; mais les affaires dont votre 
Excellence m'a entretenu ne sont pas perdues de vue, et 
dans toutes les occasions j'en rends compte a sa Majeste. 


Elle voit avec plaisir que les discussions des Etats-Unis 
avec l'Espagne continuent de se suivre par voie de nego- 
ciation; et elle espere, d'apres l'esprit de conciliation qui 
anime les deux puissances, que le bon voisinage du gou- 
vernement federal et des possessions Espagnoles ne sera 
point altere. 

"J'ail'honneur, & c . 

"(Signe) Ch. M ce Taillerand 

Prince de Benevent." 

Koenisberg, 13 Juillet, 1807. 
S. E. M. G L Armstrong. 

Monsieur, — J'ai regu les lettres que votre Excellence 
m'a fait l'honneur de m'adresser sous la date du 12 et 
du 16 Juin. 

Avant d'y repondre je m'empresse d'annoncer d'abord a 
votre Excellence que la paix entre la France et la Russie 
a ete conclue le 7 de ce mois a Tilsit, et qu'elle a ete con- 
clue le 9 entre la France et la Prusse. L'amitie qui unit 
la France et les Etats-Unis me fait penser que votre gou- 
vernement en apprendra la nouvelle avec plaisir. 

Cette circonstance, qui m'a deja ramene de Tilsit a 
Koenisberg, me donne l'esperance d'etre bientot a Paris 
et de reprendre avec plus de suite et d'efficacite qu'on ne 
pourrait le faire a de si longues distances, la correspond- 
ance relative aux affaires qui interessent les deux pays. 

Vous voulez bien, Monsieur, me donner communication 
des bases sur lesquelles votre gouvernement desirerait 
terminer ses arrangemens avec l'Espagne. Le gouverne- 
ment Frangais ne peut qu'etre sensible a cette marque 
de confiance. II a vu avec plaisir cesser toutes les dis- 
cussions qui s'etaient elevees sur les limites orientales de 
la Louisiane et il espere que quoique les limites occi- 
dentales n'aient pas encore ete arretees entre l'Espagne 
et les Etats-Unis, cette indecision, que des commissaires 
nommes de part et d'autre pourrait faire cesser nuira 
d'autant moins a la bonne intelligence des deux pays 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 301 

qu'il parait que les territoires ou peut etre trace'e cette 
ligne de demarcation sont peu peuples, peu cultives, et 
renferment a peine quelques etablissemens Europeens. 

La France, pendant line possession de quatre vingts 
ans, n'avait eu aucune discussion grave avec l'Espagne 
sur les limites occidentales de la Louisiane. La meme 
question ne peut point devenir plus orageuse entre les 
Etats-Unis et l'Espagne, que je crois egalement animes 
de vues de conciliation, et qui ayant nomme des plenipo- 
tentiaires a Madrid, pour l'entendre sur tous les points, 
ont temoigne par cette mesure qu'ils desiraient ne proce- 
der que par des voies amicales. 

Sa Majeste l'Empereur toujours disposee a n'approuver 
que des mesures conciliantes, et a blamer toute disposition 
qui y serait contraire, desire que le resultat des negocia- 
tions commencees a Madrid tende a affermir chaque jour 
davantage le bon voisinage des Etats-Unis et des posses- 
sions de sa Majeste Catholique. 

Agreez, Monsieur, les assurances de ma haute con- 

(Signe) Ch. Maitr. Tallerand, 

Prince de Benevent. 

S. E. M. le Gen l Armstrong. 


The French copy of this letter 
was inserted by mistake. * 

Paris, 8 Aout, 1807. 

Monsieur, — II paraitrait, d'apres les lettres que votre 
Excellence m'a fait l'honneur de m'adresser le 6 et le 13 
du mois d er , que sa Majeste l'Empereur, croyant qu'une 
negociation etait actuellement ouverte a Madrid entre les 
Etats-Unis d'Amerique et l'Espagne n'avait pas juge 
convenable de donner ces explications par rapport aux 

* Marginal note by General Armstrong. — Eds. 


bornes occidentales de la Louisiane que, dans mes lettres 
du 5 de Fevrier et du 16 Juin derniers, je m'etais fait un 
point de solliciter, et que je presume, on aurait donnees 
sans cette circonstance. Je me hate done d : assurer a 
votre Excellence qu'il n'existe a present aucune negocia- 
tion entre les Etats-Unis et sa Majeste Catholique : qu'en 
aucun terns, depuis la date du traite non-execute de 1802, 
l'Espagne n'a decouvert aucune envie serieuse de traiter ; 
que, pendant la negotiation de 1804 et 1805, non seule- 
ment elle rejetta les ouvertures faites par le"s ministres 
Americains, mais qu'elle refusa d'y substituer aucuns 
termes a son propre choix ; qu'il s'est ecoule plus de 
douze mois depuis qu'elle a eu connaisance d'une seconde 
mission extraordinaire du meme lieu, et des conditions 
d'apres les qu'elles on pouvait ajuster cette controverse 
que cette nouvelle demarche faite dans des vues paci- 
fiques avait ete suivie de cote de l'Espagne de mesures 
extraordinaires ; en Amerique on a viole son territoire, et 
en Europe elle avait, par une nomination d'un genre nou- 
veau et illusoire, fait un plenipotentiaire sans pouvoirs ; 
en un mot, que le passe et le present confirment dans 
l'opinion, que les moyens employes, recemment par les 
Etats-Unis pour terminer a l'amiable cette controverse 
ont, ainsi que ceux adoptes avant, manque leur but. 

C'etait cet etat de choses qui fi't desirer et rendait 
comme necessaire aux Etats-Unis de reclamer aupres de 
sa Majeste l'Empereur, une explication par rapport aux 
limites occidentales de la Louisiane. N'esperant plus 
rien de la justice de l'Espagne, et s'appercevant qu'il 
etait possible que sa Majeste Imperiale refusat de faire 
mettre beaucoup d'activite dans son entremise, ou de la 
faire suivre d'un plein effet, il leur fallut pour atteindre a 
leur but prendre des moyens d'un ordre different, et tels 
qu'ils ne les dussent qua eux seuls. Ces moyens ne 
manquaient pas : mais avant d'y avoir recours, le gou- 
vernement de l'Union, voulant en cherissant la justice, 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 393 

eviter d' avoir des torts, crut qu'il etait de son devoir d'en 
appeler aux archives de l'Empire pour se procurer un 
titre official des limites occidentals de la Louisiane telle 
qu'elle avait 6t6 cedee par la France a l'Espagne en 
l'annee 1762, et a la franchise de sa Majeste Imperiale et 
Royale pour en obtenir une communication de ce titre. 

Je prie done votre Excellence, qu'elle ait la bonte de 
mettre ce nouvel expose des vues et des desirs de l'Union 
devant sa Majeste, et de lui exprimer leur confiance en- 
tiere, que si pour quelques raisons, elle ne jugeait pas a 
propos d'interposer les bons offices de maniere a faire ter- 
miner a l'amiable ces differends, elle condescendra du 
moins a ceder a leurs instances, et a leur faire donner 
communication des archives de France en ce qui con- 
cerne les limites d'un territoire qui ne leur a pas simple- 
ment ete cede par sa Majeste, mais qui leur a ete cede 
comme " une forte preuve de l'amitie de sa Majeste." 

Yotre Excellence me permettra de lui offrir les nou- 
velles assurances de ma tres haute consideration. 

(Signe) John Armstrong. 

S. E. Min. de Relat. Ext° 

Prince de Benevent. 

Note. No answer to this letter has yet been received. 

Geo. W m Erving, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 31st of May, 
since w ch I have rec d your favour of y e 20th of y e same 
month. Owing to many causes physical & political, I 
have been quite unwell ; but I have got somewhat better, 
w ch enables me to say that I do not altogther agree with 
you in y e propriety of y e desultory measures w ch have 
been pursued. With respect to Gen. A. he did not pro- 
ceed to y e imperial head quarters as was expected ; it is 


said that when he applied for a pass-port to go it was 
refused; so that nothing has, is, or is likely to be done; 
and it is now probable that peace will take place & leave 
open & unadjusted our disputes with Spain as well as 
with Engl d ; but I will not enter upon y e subject of y e 
consequences w ch may be expected from y e establishment 
of a general peace at this time. 

M r Dorr of Boston this day brot me letters from M r 
Monroe & M r Hunt dated on y e 17th of June ; y e former 
was impatiently waiting y e arrival of y e Wasp sloop of 
war with y e ultimate instructions of the President. The 
refusal of y e treaty has caused some sensation in Engl d , & 
they will probably adopt a line of conduct as hostile as 
they dare ; many of our vessels have been taken & those 
w ch were engaged in a trade to S° America, they have 
declared to be in a state of blockade, have been con- 
demned. It is publicly s d , I understand, that our trade 
has become so great that it ought to excite y e jealousy 
of y e British nation ; & that it ought to be curtailed : 
whether this will be y e language when y e news of y e late 
defeat of y e Russians shall arrive in Engl d I cant say. I 
am inclined to believe, that their conduct will be vexa- 
tious to our commerce, & as destructive to it as our 
patience will allow, but they will steer clear of open 

As soon as y e dispatches w ch I expect by y e Wasp shall 
arrive, I shall take a journey of a fortnight or three 
weeks & return to Paris, but any letters or information 
w ch you may forward will find me thro M r Barnet. 

I thank you for the information given by M r Young, but 
I still hope he will not relax in his enquiries, notwith- 
standing I am confident that y e land scheme has been 

M r Sullivan has returned from Switzerland ; his brother 
who was accidentally killed by the discharge of a pistol 
was named W m Bant S. Enclosed you will rec e a letter 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 395 

from M r Hunt who was on y e point of embarking for y e 
U. S. when M r Dorr left Engl d . My family ail join me in 

Believe, d r Sir, very faithfully yours, &c% &c a . 
Paris, July 1st, 1807. 

G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My dear Sir, — I am glad to observe by your letter 
of y e 21st ult°, that M r Madison's dispatch has at length 
reached you, & that you have presented a note upon the 
subject of it to y e governm* of Spain. I sh d be glad to 
have a copy of it, & of your correspond 06 , if you can send 
it conveniently ; M r Merriault will doubtless take charge 
of your letters to me. 

In regard to my taking a journey, my health actually 
calls for it, & I shall not relinquish y e design without 
a prospect of doing something to effect. I have kept 
myself a prisoner here nearly two years in a most ex- 
traordinary situation putting up with every indignity as 
a minister, in hopes that some benefit might accrue there- 
from to our country ! and I am sorry to add that there 
seems to be little prospect of a change ! The Wasp how- 
ever is probably arrived at the Texel, & I expect in a 
few days to see M r Rittenhouse of Phil a who is charged 
with dispatches both to Gen. A. & me. The report of 
y e day is that y e Emperor is expected at Paris at the 
latter end of y e month, and that he will bring with him 
the treaty of peace upon the continent. England, it is 
s d , will not be included in it ; so that we may soon hope 
to know how far this gov* will interfere with her good 
offices in y e adjustm* of our disputes with Spain. I beg 
you will give me y e anecdotes you mention on y e subject 
of the speculations you have found out and if you can 


ascertain y e views of y e Spanish gov* in regard to y e pro- 
posed negotiation 6r to this or our own gov t8 , it will 
render an essential service : it will be important also to 
know in case of impedim ts being thrown in y e way of y e 
negotiations, whether they spring from this or the Span- 
ish gov* & what steps ought to be taken to remove them ? 
I have heard nothing lately of Isqui o ; is he at Ma- 
drid or Paris ? & is it probable that he will be y e minister 
to negotiate in case a negotiation sh d take place ? Let 
me know also how you stand with your old friend ? you 
know who I mean. Pray keep me informed Upon these 
or any other points w ch you may consider interesting. 

I have just rec d letters from Boston to y e 25 of May ; 
they contain nothing particularly important, except that 
Judge Sullivan is chosen Governor, & that Judge Lewis 
& all the Livingstons are thrown out of office in y e state 
of N. York. Similar changes are likely to take place in 
Pensilvania : these things have the appearance, as it is 
s d , of introducing Gov r Clinton to y e chair of y e U. S. at 
y e next election ; but who will be y e next Presid* I con- 
ceive to be quite uncertain. Our friends at Boston were 
generally well, except my sister who had been indisposed 
& was recovering. 

My family all desire to be particularly remembered to 
you. Believe me always with great regard, d r Sir, very 
sincerely yours, &c a , &c a . 

Paris, July 9th, 1807. 


Washington, July 10, 07. 

Dear Sir, — I wrote you on the 10 th of July, 06, but 
supposing from your not acknoleging the receipt of the 
letter, that it had miscarried, I sent a duplicate with my 


subsequent one of Apr. 2 ; these having gone by the 
Wasp, you will doubtless have recieved them. Since that, 
yours of May 1 is come to hand. You will see by the 
dispatches from the Department of State carried by the 
armed vessel the Revenge, into what a critical state our 
peace with Gr. Britain is suddenly brought by their 
armed vessels in our waters. Four vessels of war (3 of 
them two-deckers) closely blockade Norfolk at this in- 
stant; of the authority under which this aggression is 
committed their minister here is unapprised. You will 
see by the proclamation of July 2 that (while we are not 
omitting such measures of force as are immediately neces- 
sary) we propose to give Gr. Br. an opportunity of dis- 
avowal & reparation, and to leave the question of war, 
non-intercourse, or other measures, uncommitted to the 
legislature. This country has never been in such a state 
of excitement since the battle of Lexington. In this 
state of things cordial friendship with France & peace 
at least with Spain become more interesting. You know 
the circumstances respecting this last power, which have 
rendered it ineligible that you should have proceeded 
heretofore to your destination, but this obstacle is now 
removed by their recall of Yrujo & appointment of 
another minister, & in the mean time of a charge des 
affaires, who has been recieved. The way being now 
open for taking your station at Madrid, it is certainly 
our wish you should do so, and that this may be more 
agreeable to you than your return home, as is sollicited 
in yours of May 1. It is with real unwillingness we 
should relinquish the benefit of your services ; neverthe- 
less if your mind is decidedly bent on that we shall 
regret, but not oppose your return. The choice there- 
fore remains with yourself. In the mean time your 
place in the joint commission being vacated by either 
event, we shall take the measures rendered necessary 
by that. We have seen with real grief the misunder- 


standing which has taken place between yourself & Gen 1 
Armstrong. We are neither qualified nor disposed to 
form an opinion between you.- We regret the pain 
which must have been felt by persons both of whom 
hold so high a place in our esteem, and we have not 
been without fear that the public interest might suffer 
by it. It has seemed, however, that the state of Europe 
has been such as to admit little to be done in matters 
so distant from them. 

The present alarm has had the effect of suspending 
our foreign commerce. No merchant ventures to send 
out a single vessel; and I think it probable that this will 
continue very much the case till we get an answer from 
England. Our crops are uncommonly plentiful. That 
of small grain is now secured south of this; and the 
harvest is advancing here. Accept my salutations & 
assurances of affectionate esteem & respect. 

Th: Jefferson. 

M> Bowdoin. 



Department of State,. July 15 th , 1807. 

Gentlemen, — The enclosed copy of a proclamation 
of the President will inform you of a late extraordinary 
hostility and insult committed by a British ship of war on 
a frigate of the U. S. near the Capes of Virginia, and of 
the measure taken by the President in consequence of 
the outrage. The subsequent proceedings of the British 

* A " duplicate " original of this letter, signed by Mr. Madison, is in The Bowdoin and 
Temple Papers. It is almost wholly in cipher. The "copy" is not in Bowdoin's hand, 
but it was doubtless made under his direction to enable him to read the despatch more 
easily, and to be sent to Mr. Erving. It is in the same hand and on the same sheet of 
paper as the two short notes which follow. — Eds. 

1807.] JAMES MADISON. 399 

squadron in our waters have borne a like stamp of hos- 
tility ; and altho' it may be found that these provocations 
have not issued from or may be disavowed and expiated 
by the British government it may also be found that the 
U. S. must take on themselves the reparation that is due 
them. For this event it is necessary to be prepared ; as 
well with a view to our finances as to other resources 
and arrangements. In this state of things the President, 
taking into consideration the objections to an application 
of the public funds to objects not immediately connected 
with the public safety, instructs you to suspend the nego- 
tiation for the purchase of the Floridas, unless it shall be 
agreed by Spain that payment for them shall in case of a 
rupture between Great Britain and the United States be 
postponed till the end of one year after they shall have 
settled their differences; and that in the mean time no 
interest shall be paid on the debt. You will of course 
understand it to be inconsistent with that instruction 
either to draw on the Treasury or to obtain a credit in 
Europe for any part of the sum allotted for the purchase 
of the Floridas. 

Should a bargain have been made for the Floridas, 
and payment stipulated as contemplated by former in- 
structions, you will press in the most serious and em- 
phatic manner a remodification of the terms which will 
adjust them to the instructions here given. Such a 
compliance may justly be expected in return for the 
advantages which Spain and her allies will derive in 
various respects from a contest between this country and 
their enemy. It may further be expected that in con- 
sideration of these advantages to them, and of the gen- 
eral effect of a war or even of a cessation of commerce 
with G. B. on the pecuniary faculties of the United 
States, the price demanded for the Floridas will be at 
least greatly reduced. To this consideration it may be 
added that whilst the pecuniary faculties of the U. S. will 


be so materially benumbed in the event of a rupture with 
G. B. those of Spain may be essentially aided by the 
facility which that event will give to the command of her 
S° American treasures thro' the U. S. Finally is it not 
worthy of consideration that the introduction of hostile 
relations between the U. S. and G. B. may remove objec- 
tions hitherto felt by the latter, to enterprizes against 
the Floridas, and lead to a military occupancy of them 
with views very adverse to the policy of Spain. 

Should Spain still obstinately persist in rejecting or 
retarding an arrangement concerning the Floridas, she 
must at least see the necessity of hastening a satisfactory 
one on other subjects, particularly in the case of the Mo- 
bille, for the free 5 se of which by the U. S. orders ought 
to be sent without a moment's delay. 

The President leaves to your own discretion the use to 
be made of observations of this kind, and entertains an 
entire confidence that your management of the whole 
business will be such as will best comport with the cir- 
cumstances of the crisis, and conduce most to the object 
entrusted to you. 

This dispatch goes by the Revenge, a public armed 
vessel charged with instructions to our ministers in Lon- 
don, to require from the British government the satisfac- 
tion due for the insult to the U. S. She will touch at a 
French port from which one of her officers will proceed 
to Paris. She will also return from England to France 
and convey to you from M r Monroe & M r Pinckney the 
communications rendered proper by the conduct & coun- 
tenance of the British government in relation to the 
U. States. The influence which these communications 
ought to have on your proceedings will depend on the 
tenor of them, and must be left to your own discernment 
and sound judgement. I have the pleasure to assure 
you that the spirit excited throughout our nation by the 
gross attack on its sovereignty is that of the most ardent 

1307.] JAMES MADISON. 401 

and determined patriotism. You will find sufficient speci- 
mens of it in the papers herewith enclosed. 

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, with respect and 

Your most ob. serv*. 

(Signed) James Madison. 

Their Excellencies General Armstrong and James Bowdoin, 
Ministers of the U. States at Paris. 

Below is copy of a Letter from Gen! Armstrong to J 8 

(superscription) A Monsieur, 

Monsieur Bowdoin, 

Paris, 17 'Aug*, 1807. 

Sir, — As you expressed a wish in your note of the 1 st 
ins* to have it in your power to make your court to his 
Majesty on his birth-day I did not fail to make the neces- 
sary application, but received a notice, that none but 
ministers accredited to his Majesty could be received on 
that day. I state this fact to shew you that your not 
being invited was not a consequence of any omission of 
mine. If you wish to see M r Segur's note communicat- 
ing the rule, it shall be sent to you. 

On the other and more important subject on which you 
speak, I owe as well to your personal situation and feel- 
ings as to your public character the most full and explicit 
declaration that I have no reason to believe that France 
will so interfere as to constrain Spain even to negotiate & 
much less to conclude a treaty on terms equitable in 
themselves and satisfactory to the U. S. In other words, 
I do not believe that the objects of our joint commission 
will be accomplished. 

I have directed copies of the last part of my corre- 
spondence with the Prince of Benevent to be made out 
for you & I send herewith a letter from the Department 
of State which came enclosed to me. 



I have the honor to be, Sir, very respectfully your 

obed. humb. serv. /c . in t a 

(feigned) John Armstrong. 

P. S. You will consider this communication & the 
other which shall be made, as soon as the letters can be 
copied, as confidential. 

Me Bowdoin. Paris. 

The following is copy of the note referred to above : 

Gen. Armstrong. Paris, Aug 1 1**, 1807. 

Sir, — The long time I have been waiting here the 
arrival of the Spanish ministers to have been appointed 
thro' the friendly mediation of his Imp 1 Majesty, to dis- 
cuss and arrange with us the subsisting differences be- 
tween Spain ana the U. S. makes me extremely desirous 
to know what probability there is of the friendly inter- 
ference of this gov* or that Spain will authorize commis- 
sioners to confer and to settle the differences between 
the two countries. 

As the state of my health has been on the decline for 
some time past, I feel great anxiety to return home, 
which I shall attempt as soon as the results of our joint 
commission shall be fully ascertained. I shall therefore 
be much obliged to you for such information as you may 
have upon this subject, and for any communications 
which may have taken place upon it between you and 
the Prince of Beneventum since October last, that in 
case there should be no probability of a negotiation to be 
opened, I may prepare to return to the United States as 
soon as possible. 

As I conceive it proper (my health permitting) to pay 
my respects to the Emperor upon his birth-day, I shall be 
obliged to you to procure me the necessary card of intro- 
duction from the master of ceremonies. 

I am very respectfully, Sir, your mo. ob. serv. 

(Signed) J. B. 

1807.] JAMES MADISON. 403 


Department of State, July 17 th , 1807. 

Sir, — Since the event which led to the late proclama- 
tion of the President, inclosed in the letter to Gen 1 Arm- 
strong and yourself, the British squadron in the waters 
of Virginia has conducted itself in the same insolent and 
hostile spirit. Merchant vessels arriving and departing 
have been challenged, fired at, examined, and detained 
within our jurisdiction ; with as little scruple as if they 
were at open sea. Not satisfied with these outrages, the 
British Commodore Douglass advanced into Hampton 
Roads with his whole squadron, consisting of two 74' 8 ? 
a ship of 50 guns, and a frigate ; threatened by his 
soundings and other preparations an hostile approach 
to Norfolk ; and actually blockaded the town by forcibly 
obstructing all water communication with it. In a word 
the course of proceeding has amounted as much to an 
invasion and a siege as if an army had debarked and 
invested the town on the land side. It is now said that 
the whole squadron has left Hampton Roads in conse- 
quence of a formal notice of the President's proclamation, 
and fallen down to the former position at a small dis- 
tance within the Capes ; probably awaiting the further 
orders of the commanding Admiral at Halifax. 

The spirit and exertions called forth by the crisis have 
been truly gratifying. Volunteers turned out by thou- 
sands. The situations most exposed to predatory de- 
barkations were guarded ; and Norfolk was soon made 
safe by a judicious disposition of the Chesapeake refitted 
for the occasion, a French frigate which happened to be 
in harbour, and a few gun boats; and by availing the 
whole of the support of the fortifications in the vicinity. 

The grand jury, during the late session of the Circuit 
Court at Richmond, found bills of treason and misde- 
meanor against Aaron Burr, Jonathan Dayton, John 




Smith (Senator from the State of Ohio), Blennerhasset, 
and several others. Their trials will take place on the 
3 d of next month. 

I have the honor to inclose a private letter from the 
President, which renders it unnecessary for me to say 
more in reference to the considerations which personally 
interest you than that he acquiesces in your proposed 
return to the United States ; but with a wish to avail 
the public of your services at Madrid, if not disagreeable 
to you, and if there be no objection to this arrangement 
presented by circumstances in our affairs with Spain 
better known to you than to us. The way for the 
arrangement seems to be fairly opened by the late sub- 
stitution of the Chevalier de Foronda as charge des 
affaires, in place of the Marquis de Yrujo, and by the 
understood purpose of transferring hither the present 
Minister Plenipo: of Spain at Milan. 

In the present posture of our relations to Great Britain 
it is prudent to turn them as much as can be honorably 
done to account in our other foreign relations. In the 
joint letter to you and Gen 1 Armstrong this policy has 
been explained as it applies to the objects embraced 
by the joint commission. But there are other cases in 
which Spain is counselled by her own interest to promote 
that of the United States ; particularly by giving greater 
latitude and security to our commerce with her Ameri- 
can possessions, above all with the important and con- 
venient Island of Cuba. I offer this idea for your 
attention and improvement ; and I pray you to com- 
municate it to M r Erving, with such of the other matters 
contained in the dispatches now forwarded as it may 
be useful for him to possess. 

I have the honor to remain, with great respect & con- 

Sir, your most ob* se*. 

James Madison. 

James Bowdoin, Esq., &c, &c, &c. Paris. 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 405 


G. W. Erving, Esq r . 

My d r Sir, — I wrote to you on y e 9th inst* since which 
I have rec d no letters from you. I avail myself of the 
oppty. of Cap* McClure to write to you ; he is one of 
y e principal propr trs of land in East Florida, & is well 
acquainted with y e country. He has had a large ship 
cast away upon the coast of France, & has been engaged 
in claiming the property saved, w ch is attempted to be 
proved British by some persons living upon the coast. 
The case is pending before y e C* of Prizes, & as it is 
refered for a month or two before it will be examined, 
he goes in y e mean time to Madrid on some commercial 
affairs, where he has connections with people of some 
influence. I mention these circumstances that you may 
draw, if possible, some advantage from them. You will 
find him well informed & intelligent, & that he is well 
disposed to render any assistance which may be in his 
power. He has promised to give me a statement of 
y e present situation of y e ports & harbours in East & 
West Florida, the depth of water & their general con- 
veniences for the security of ships ; & also his opinions 
in regard to the goodness & value of y e soil. These are 
circumstances on w ch we cannot have too much informa- 
tion. As he will make but a short stay at Madrid & will 
return immeadiately to Paris, I hope you will write me 
fully on his return & enclose copies of your communica- 
tions to y e Spanish gov*, & that you will furnish me with 
all such information of every kind & nature w ch may 
have any relation to our negotiations here ; and what 
you find to be y e real disposition of y e Spanish gov* on 
y e subject ; particularly also in regard to the land job- 
bing scheme w ch you mentioned in one of your last 
letters. As soon as the Treaties of Tilsitt are published 
I shall write you, as also when I rec e y e dispatches w ch are 


expected by y e Wasp sloop, & w ch it is s d is arrived in 
Engl d . Expecting Cap* McClure momently to call for 
this letter, I have only time to renew my assurances of 
esteem & regard, in w ch my family all join & to subscribe 
myself very sincerely yours. 

James Bowdoin. 

Paris, July 24 th , 1807. 

P. S. Peace with Russia & Prussia was this day pro- 
claimed, but the articles are not yet published. 

G. W. Erving, Esq*. 

My DEAxt Sir, — I duely rec d yr. favour of y e 21st & 
notice what you observe concerning y e disposition of y e 
Spanish gov* in regard to the subsisting differences with 
y e U. S. ; and likewise to y e jealousy & apprehensions it 
entertains of this gov 15 . That these jealousies are not 
without foundation I am well assured, for I understand a 
force is on march with a view to enter Spain, & to revo- 
lutionize its gov*; indicision & half way measures are y e 
ruin of all causes in such times as y e present, & y e Prince 
of P. with his duplicity & double conduct will be com- 
pletely caught in his own snares. Spain with her troops 
abroad & her resources exhausted will fall like ripe fruit 
before y e power & policy of this gov*. Portugal too will 
be reduced in her turn & be made to repent of her policy 
& connection with G. B. What will be y e fate of the 
Spanish colonies, to whose lot they will fall, it is difficult 
to suppose. Every thing seems to be giving way to the 
irresistible power of the Emperor, whilst G. B. seems to 
have lost her senses & is wasting her power & resources 
in useless expeditions & frivolous attempts ; at a time 
too, that her navy is making her enemies every where by 
robbing friends & foes with equal rapacity ! How the 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 407 

U. S. will act towards her, whether they will continue to 
put up with y e plunder of their commerce, y e impressm* 
of their seamen, & y e late capture of one of their frigates, 
it is difficult to say ! besides a great number of our ves- 
sels condemned in Engl d , 18 sail of our ships have been 
lately condemned at Malta upon the most frivolous pre- 
tences. Or what our gov* means to do in regard to our 
affairs with Spain is equally out of my view. M r Rit- 
tenhouse has arrived in Holland, & I have rec d no in- 
structions & y e probability is that none has or will be 
given. I beg you will keep me informed of every occur- 
rence, and that you will write me particularly by M r 
Merriault & Cap* McClure ; perhaps you may get some 
information by sounding the Prince on y e subject of our 
affairs & y e appointm* of Commiss rs , &c a , to confer, &c. 
My opinion continues to be that nothing will come from 
the proposition of our gov* & y e sooner I return home y e 
better. I have written for leave, & I hope to rec e in y e 
course of a month or six weeks. In the mean time, I 
shall aim to do what I can, but I confess that y e prospect 
of success appears to me small. I think this gov* is amus- 
ing, whilst it is amu[sed] with y e policy of our gov* in 
regard to Spain. 

Adieu, & believe me always with great regard, yours, 
&c a , &c a . 

Paris, 7th Augt, 1807. 

P. S. At the moment of sealing this letter I rec e yours 
of y e 21st ult°. My family desire to be remembered to 

Gen. Armstrong. 

Sir, — In reply to your two notes of the 14th & 17th 
ins* you will permit to observe to you that as a public 
minister of the United States, altho not accredited to 


this government, yet I consider myself entitled to the 
protection and to the consideration & respect of a for- 
eign minister. I understand it has been the immemorial 
usage of this court, and of the European courts in general, 
to extend the civilities of the court through the resident 
minister to all foreign ministers circumstanced & situated 
as I am. 

In this view the manner of being introduced & the pre- 
liminary steps necessary thereto, as well as the cards of 
invitation therefor, do not become mere matters of form, 
but have a certain significance and character attached 
to them very important to the government which we 

A foreign minister, whether accredited or not to the 
court of i\ e country through which he may pass, or 
may have occasion to sojourn or to reside on account of 
the business of his nation, is entitled to y e protection 
authorized by the law of nations during his residence 
and to the consideration and respect due to the resi- 
dent minister of y e same power. This is the construc- 
tion that the President has doubtless given to the law 
of nations & to the usages under it, or I am well per- 
suaded that he would have attached collateral powers 
to the commission common to us both, at least so far as 
respected the mediation of this government. 

How far, Sir, you have acted up to this construction of 
the rights & usages attached to my commission of minister 
plenipotentiary near the court of his Catholic Majesty, or 
to y e extraordinary one in which I am joined with you, 
will depend upon the communications you have made to 
this government & to the cards of invitation you may 
have received on my account. If I understand it right 
the manner and style of your applications are fully ex- 
plained in the tickets you procured for me at the late 
ceremonies, which were directed to me in my personal & 
not in ym official character ; and I have reason to appre- 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIjS". 409 

hend that M r Segur's card to you on my account may be 
estimated by the same circumstance. 

I conceive it equally my duty to observe to you, Sir, 
that the history of this government offers few or no 
examples of a minister to another court, when passing 
through or residing at Paris on the business of his gov- 
ernment, being refused introduction by y e minister resi- 
dent, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs ; and it is very 
reluctantly that I remind you, Sir, that although I have 
requested this favour it has hitherto been without success ! 

With respect to our affairs with Spain I am sorry to 
notice by your last note that y e prospect of procuring the 
interference of this government seems almost at an end ; 
and it is sincerely to be lamented that this disposition 
could not have been sooner ascertained. I am sorry to 
acquaint you that by my last letters from Madrid the 
Spanish government continues obstinate, & is quite indis- 
posed to open a negotiation with y e United States on the 
subsisting differences ; so that if the interference of this 
government cannot be obtained there will be little or 
no prospect of an adjustment ; and the information can- 
not be too soon communicated to y e President. 

By the copies of y e papers you yesterday sent me, as 
well as by your letters heretofore written, there seems to 
have been a number of communications between you & 
this governm* respecting our affairs with Spain of which 
you have not furnished me copies, & I conclude therefore 
you may have thofc them of little importance. I shall 
notwithstanding be glad to be possessed of the whole cor- 
respondence since the rec* of our joint commission, & shall 
be much obliged to you to favour me with such parts of it 
as you may not have heretofore favoured me with. 

I have the honour to be, very respectfully, Sir, 
Your most obed fc servant. 

James Bowdoln". 

Paris, Aug* 19th, 1807. 


Geo. W m Erving, Esq e . 

My dear Sir, — Since writing you on the 7 th ins*, I 
have rec d no letter from you ; but I have rec d interesting 
letters from M r Madison, Gen 1 Armstrong, & M r Monroe. 
The first contains nothing new, altho it is couched in 
very friendly terms. The second contains very impor- 
tant information, little short of the absolute refusal of 
this gov* to interfere in our disputes with Spain. Here is 
what he says : " On the other & more important subject 
on which you speak, I owe as well to your personal 
situation & feelings as to your public character y e most 
full & explicit declaration that I have no reason to be- 
lieve that France will so interfere as to constrain Spain 
to negotiate & much less conclude a treaty on terms 
equitable in themselves or satisfactory to y e U. S. In 
other words, I do not believe that y e objects of our joint 
commiss 11 will be accomplished." It appears, however, that 
Gen 1 A. had made a communication which had not been 
replied to. My letter from M r Monroe, altho only a let- 
ter of introduction, yet by refering me to y e bearer, a M r 
Hall, for political information, I draw y e very favorable 
conclusion, that altho y e people of y e U. S. are very 
highly incensed ag st the conduct of the British ships of 
war, yet there is a prevailing disposition in y e British 
cabinet to give y e American gov* the fullest satisfaction 
for the late outrages. 

Should our difficulties with Engl d blow over, & there 
sh d continue to be no probability of a negotiation with 
Spain, I shall go home by y e way of England, & shall 
probably quit Paris some time in y e approaching autumn. 
I give you this hint that if you have obtained any intelli- 
gence, & sh d hereafter, that sh d induce me to delay this 
plan, I shall be glad you would give me from time to 
time y e earliest information of it ; or if I sh d be in Engl d 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOITST. 411 

that you would forward it in a manner the most likely to 
reach me. I conclude you have had y e American papers, 
and know every thing respecting y e conduct of y e British 
cruizers, Col Burr, & y e other political topicks w ch engage 
the attention of y e people & gov* of y e [United] States. 

M r Sullivan has kept his bed with a fever for a fort- 
night past, but is now better. The rest of the family are 
well, except myself, and desire to be remembered to you. 

Believe me always with great regard, respectfully, 
d r Sir, 

Yours, &c% &c a . 
Paris, Augt 26, 1807. 

Geo. W m Erving, Esq e . 

My dear Sir, — I wrote you on y e 7 th & 26 th ins*, to 
w ch I refer you. You will see by the enclosed copies of 
letters what my present situation is ; that nothing is or 
can be done further under the joint commission, which 
I thank God is terminated or nearly so ; it only remains 
for me then agreeably to y e President's letter to make 
my election between going to Mad d or returning home, 
& I shall not hesitate in my choice, not having health 
to endure the journey to Madrid, if my services w T ere 
required there. You will observe by one of M r Madison's 
letters to me, that he requests me to communicate to you 
such parts of my dispatches as I may find useful. What 
he precisely means I sh d suggest to you I know not. I 
take it, however, (first referring you to y e letters) that 
y e joint commiss 11 being dead, y e minister at Paris & you 
at Madrid may make or receive proposals for the accom- 
modation of y e subsisting differences. M r Armstrong says 
France will not interfere, & you say that Spain is quite 
indisposed to any negotiation whatsoever. What else 
then can be done than to submit this posture of our 


affairs to the gov* to determine upon y e measures neces- 
sary to give an activity to the negotiation ? 

If our difficulties with England shall be arranged, I 
shall proceed thither with my family to pass y e winter ; 
if not, I shall endeavor to proceed to y e U. S. in y e most 
direct way possible the present autumn. The Revenge, 
armed schooner, sailed from Brest for Engl d with dis- 
patches for M r Monroe on Monday last. The ministers 
in Lond° are directed to give Gen 1 Armstrong & me the 
earliest intelligence of their negotiations with the British 
cabinet. I pray you to write me by the first opp ty after 
receiv g this letter & acquaint me with y e present disposi- 
tion of y e Spanish cabinet. The troops are daily quitting 
this city, & are assembling near Bayonne. I gave you a 
hint in my last of these movem ts . M r Sullivan continues 
unwell. My family desire to be remembered to you. 
Believe me, always with great regard, 

Yours, &c a , &c\ 

Paris, Aug. 29^ 1807. 

If you have any letters for Engl d , you had better write 
them & send to me within 3 or 4 weeks. Mr. Barnet 
desires his regards. 


Paris, 30 August, 1807. 

Sir, — I have received your note of the 29 th . The 
letter endorsed Department of State and addressed to 
you, & which was sent to your lodgings some ten or 
twelve days past, did not come by the Wasp, but by 
M. Livingston. The Department of State will be able 
to inform you whether this was accompanied by other 
letters, papers & pamphlets, and particularly whether it 
" doubtless " enclosed for you a letter or letters from the 
President. On these points I disdain to answer your 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 413 

questions & desire you hereafter to be more circumspect 
in putting them. 

I send you the pith of my correspondence with M. de 
Champagny. This is all I think necessary to your ob- 
jects & all I shall send to you at present. Should I 
receive a favorable answer to my letter of the 23 d (as I 
expect) I shall communicate it, hoping however that you 
may not think it advisable to convey it through any 
channel to his Highness the Prince of Peace. 
I am your obed* hum. servant. 

John Armstrong. 



31 Augt. 

I have this morning received from one Ficheux (a deputy 
of Aron Vail) by the diligence a packet from the Dept. 
of State containing 2 articles for you, which I send 

Suit of the correspondence 
between the Min. Champagny 
& Gen. Armstrong.* 

Paris, le 22 Aout, 1807. 

Monsieur, — Yous m'avec rapelle* par la lettre que 
vous m'avez fait 1'honneur de m'ecrire le 19 de ce mois, 
les notes que vous aviez adressees le 12 et le 16 Juin, le 
8 et le 9 d'Aout, a M r le Prince de Benevent, et la lettre 
que vous avec bien voulu m'ecrire le 13 du meme mois. 

J'ai verifie que les deux premieres notes ont ete repon- 
dues par une lettre du 13 Juillet, qui vous a ete adressee 
de Koenisberg. Yotre 3 me note relative corame les 2 pre- 
mieres, aux discussions qui subsistent entre l'Espagne et 
les Etats-Unis, m'a donne lieu d'ecrire le 19 k l'Ambassa- 
deur de sa Majeste a Madrid, et de lui recommander de 
saisir toutes les occasions favorables pour porter les Mi- 
nistres des deux Etats a ne suivre dans ces discussions, 
qu'une marche amicale. 

* Marginal note in the handwriting of General Armstrong. — Eds. 


J'ai deja eu l'honneur de vous annoncer que d'apres 
votre lettre du 9, j'avais pri^ le Ministre de la Marine de 
me transmettre les nouvelles explications que vous 
desiriez, sur l'application du decret du 19 Novembre 
dernier, en ce qui peut concerner les Americains. 

Vous jugerez, Monsieur, par les observations que vos 
differentes notes ont ete prises en consideration. Je con- 
tinuerai de donner une attention particuliere a toutes les 
affaires qui interessent les 2 puissances, et sur les quelles 
vous me ferez l'honneur de m'ecrire, particulierement a 
celles qui tendront a resserrer davantage l'union des 
Etats-Unis, soit avec ses voisins et ses allies, soit avec la 
France. Vous m'annoncez que vous m'avez adresse une 
nouvelle lettre le 13 de ce mois. Je vous prie, Monsieur, 
de vouloir bien m'en envoyer un duplicata. 

J'ai l'honneur, &c. (gign6) CnAMPAGNT . 

Paris, 23 August, 1807. 

Sir, — I received the letter your Excellency did me 
the honor to write to me on the 22 of the present month, 
informing me that "in consequence of my note of the 
8 th instant you had written to his Majesty's ambassador 
at Madrid, and had recommended to him to seize all favor- 
able occasions to induce the ministers of the two powers 
to follow in their discussions an amicable course." 

While I offer to your Excellency my acknowledgments 
for this ready and friendly recommendation you will per- 
mit me to remark, that whatever may be its success 
it by no means supercedes the necessity of demanding 
in behalf of the U. S. an answer to the question so inter- 
esting to them & so frequently asked, what is the 
western boundary of Louisiana? This question was first 
offered to his Highness the Prince of Benevent in my 
letter of the 5 th of February last, was repeated in that 
of the 12 th of June and was afterwards presented to your 
Excellency in that of the 8 th instant. The government 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 415 

of the Union will not readily perceive, why a question 
growing out of public treaties, founded in public rights, 
and urged, as I hope, with a sufficient degree of decorum, 
should remain unanswered ? 

Is it supposed that an answer in the frankness which 
characterises his Majesty, would give to the Union any 
improper advantage ? Certainly not. The U. S. ask only 
what belongs to them; they demand only their rights; 
they want nothing besides. Would it do any positive 
wrong to Spain? None. Like the U. S. that power 
cannot be injured by a free and faithfull exhibition of 
the truth. 

Could it in any way, or to any extent, be opposed to 
the interests of France ? This is impossible. France can 
have no interest more precious in itself, none more im- 
portant to her glory or her power, than that of strictly 
fulfilling all her engagements. In the present case she 
has stipulated that her title to Louisiana was indisputable, 
and this indisputable title she has ceded to the Union. 
It cannot therefore be her interest to dissemble, much 
less to deny a regular and official exposition of it. 

Can there be any dificulty in locating the boundary ? 
Not the smallest. The discoveries made and possessions 
taken by France from the year 1673 to that of 1712 ; 
the Act of Louis the 14 th constituting the province and 
declaring the boundaries of Louisiana ; the sanctions 
direct and indirect given to these proceedings by three 
successive treaties (those of Ryswic, Utrect, and Rad- 
stadt), to which France and Spain were parties ; the 
possession, without doubt on one side or disturbance on 
the other, for the long period of 80 years ; the cession by 
France and acceptance by Spain (in 1762) of the terri- 
tory which had been thus held by the former ; the subse- 
quent retro-cession by Spain of this very territory in the 
extent it had when she received it; and finally, the 
transfer by France to the U. S. of all the rights that she 


(France) had derived from this act of retro-cession on 
the part of Spain — these circumstances taken seperately 
and collectively remove all doubts which may otherwise 
attach to the question ; they establish the boundary fully 
and firmly and leave to his Majesty only to declare the 
result, and to the government of the Union to act upon 
that declaration. Under these impressions I hasten to 
renew to your Excellency this interesting question, what 
w 7 as deemed or taken (by France) as the western boundary 
of Louisiana when in 1762 she ceded that province to his 
C. M. ? The reasonableness of the request, the right to 
make it, and the assurances contained in your Excellency's 
letter of the 22 nd instant, leave no room to doubt but that 
it will be answered promptly and favorably. 

I have the honor to offer to your Excellency the new 
assurances of my very high consideration. 

H. Ex. The Minister of Exterior Relations. 


Paris, 30 August, 1807. 

If General Armstrong understands Mr. Bowdoin's note 
of the 19th instant, it was intended to assert or insinuate, 
1st, that the protection, respect, and consideration due 
to him (Mr. Bowdoin) by the French government have 
been withheld : 2d, That cards of invitation to recent 
festivities and ceremonies were sent to him in his private, 
not in his public character: 3d, That he was not per- 
mitted to make his court to his Majesty with the Dip- 
lomatic Corps on the 15th instant: 4th, That these 
grievances have arisen from an omission of Gen. Arm- 
strong in not having presented him (Mr. B.) in his public 
character : and 5th, That General Armstrong has con- 
stantly refused to introduce Mr. Bowdoin to the Prince 
of Benevent, late Minister of Foreign Relations. On 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 417 

each of these heads of accusation, as they may be called, 
Gen. x\rmstrong will say a few words ; and, 

1st. If either protection or civilities have been denied 
to Mr. Bowdoin, he ought to specify the cases. I know 
of none such. It were well that Mr. B. should specify 
also the kind and degree of civility and protection to 
which he may think himself entitled. It will not, I 
believe, be asserted, much less proved, that Mr. B. has 
been molested either in his person or his property ; nor 
will it be denied that Mr. B. has had the civilities of 
the court. This very letter, under our eye, proves that 
cards of invitation to the late festivities and ceremonies 
were sent to him. It is true there might have been 
entertainments to which he was not invited. Such were 
the dinners and suppers of the Palace. But will Mr. B. 
seriously complain of this ? If he does, I congratulate 
him on the state of his stomach : it has more vigor than 
I had imagined. 

2 d But the invitations sent to Mr. B. w^ere addressed 
to him in his private, and not in his public character. 
This may be true, and it may be true also that these 
invitations would have been more respectful had they been 
addressed to " His Excellency, James Bowdoin, Esquire, 
Minister Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary to his Catho- 
lic Majesty." It is possible that this style of address may 
be among " those forms of significance and character " 
which (Mr. Bowdoin says) are highly "important to the 
government we represent," and if so, Mr. B. himself can- 
not be more afflicted at this omission than I am. 

3 d That Mr. B. was not permitted to make his court 
to his Majesty at the last diplomatic audience is true, and 
it is also true that, to prevent mistake and misrepre- 
sentation, Gen. A. explained to Mr. B. the cause of this 
exclusion. So far however from accepting this explana- 
tion, Mr. B. with his characteristic delicacy and good 
manners places the order of his Majesty (of which this 



exclusion was an effect) to the account of Gen. Arm- 
strong, and would insinuate that it was particular in its 
operation. The fact is just the reverse. The order was 
general and was intended to exclude all persons (of what- 
ever rank) not of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to this 
Court. Hence it was that the Spanish Minister Count 
Eichteren (a person exactly in Mr. B.'s situation) was not 
admitted, and hence also the exclusion of near a dozen 
of German and Italian Princes, &c, &c. If Mr. B. would 
dismiss the ear-wigs that now approach and even mo- 
nopolize him, and who know even less than himself, and 
particularly if he would enter but once a week into any 
well-instructed society in Paris, he would get over the 
misconceptions and other errors into which he is now 
constantly falling both with regard to the' French nation, 
the French government, and even the conduct of his own 
colleague. (See the two notes appended to this letter, 
and marked 1. and 2. They will prove to Mr. B. that 
the usages of this court make a distinction between 
ministers resident here and persons situated as he is.) 

4th, Had Mr. Bowdoin's memory been more correct, 
he would neither have asserted nor insinuated that G. A. 
had neglected to present him in his public character. 
The public papers of the day will correct this mistake, 
they will shew that he was presented as Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary from the United States to his Catholic Majesty. 

On Mr. Bowdoin's 5th complaint Gen. A. would remark, 
1st. That Mr. Bowdoin's introduction to the Prince of 
Benevent did by no means depend upon him. There 
were many other avenues to the acquaintance of that 
minister ; and Mr. Bowdoin may recollect that soon after 
his arrival in Paris he made an attempt through one of 
these to obtain not merely an introduction but an official 
intercourse which should exist independently of both Gen. 
Armstrong's participation and privity. 2 d Tho' the cir- 
cumstance just mentioned would have justified General 

1807.] JOHN" ARMSTRONG. 419 


Armstrong in refusing his aid to Mr. B's introduction, 
yet it is a fact that he never refused it. So far from this 
G. A. made two efforts to obtain for Mr. B. the introduc- 
tion he wished. But 3d. What shall we think of the 
reasonableness of this complaint when we find that Mr, 
B. has been actually introduced to this minister, nay that he 
introduced himself. In his rage to effect this object, and 
heedless of the forbidding indications which offered them- 
selves in succession against it, Mr. B. (at a public audi- 
ence at which Gen. A. was not present) made his way 
to the Prince of Benevent, and announcing both his 
name and his office stated, " that he had been twice at 
his gate, but had been refused admittance ; that he 
seized this occasion to introduce himself, and hoped for 
the honor of a permission to see and to know him." If it 
were possible for Mr. B. to have forgotten this extra- 
ordinary introduction, it is quite impossible that he could 
forget the still more extraordinary reception it met with. 
To have lost sight of the one would argue a total want 
of memory ; but to have forgotten the other would 
demonstrate the absence of every thing in the human 
character worth having. It is therefore impossible but 
that Mr. Bowdoin must remember it, and if he does what 
are we to think of his lamentations at not having been intro- 
duced to the Prince of Benevent III 

General Armstrong hopes that Mr. B. will hereafter 
look out for some new subject upon whom to discharge 
the irritations of ill-health or ill humor. He is com- 
pletely weary of being the subject of either. 

L'aide des Ceremonies a l'honneur d'informer votre 
Excellence que le Corps diaplomatique est invite a se 
reunir Samedi matin chez un de ses membres, pour se 
rendre en corps a la ceremonie de Notre Dame. 

II sera necessaire que son Ex. le Grand Maitre des 
Ceremonies connoise le lieu de reunion du Corps Diaplo- 


matique pour qu'il puisse l'indiquer a l'escorte qui sera 
commandee a Teffet d'accompagner le Corps Diaploma- 

Votre Excellence recevra deraain les billets qu'elle a 
demandes. La tribune destinee au Corps Diaplomatique 
ne pouvant recevoir que Messieurs les Ambassadeurs et 
Ministres. Les personnes attachees aux legations et les 
etrangers presentes seront places aitteurs. 

L'aide des Ceremonies a l'honneur de renouveller a 
votre Excellence rhommage de sa respectueuse con- 
sideration. T. 


Ce 12. aout, 1807. 

A son Ex. le General Armstrong. 

Turn over. 

Le Grand maitre des Ceremonies a l'honneur de pre- 
venir votre Excellence que S. M. l'Empereur et Roi re- 
cevra le Corps Diplomatique diinain samedi a 10 heures 
precises au Palais des Tuileries. 

MM. Les Etrangers ne seront point admis a cette audience. 
Le Corps Diplomatique partira du Palais des Tuileries 
pour se rendre a Notre Dame. 

Le Grand maitre prie votre Excellence d'agreer l'assu- 
rance de sa consideration distinguee. 

Ce 14 aout, 1807. 

A son Ex. le General Armstrong. 

Geo. W. Erving, Esq». 

My dear Sir, — I have only time to enclose you a 
copy of a letter I yesterday, i. e., y e last evening, rec d 
from Gen. Armstrong & my answer thereto of this morn- 
ing. I refer them to your consideration & shall give you 
notice of y e measures w ch may or may not be pursued in 
consequence thereof, requesting however in y e mean 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN". 421 

while your sentiments & opinions grounded upon the 
propositions w ch I have made as well as upon y e note of 
ye p reilcn g y fc refered to in Gen 1 Armstrong's letter. 
In great haste, you will permit me to desist & to sub- 
scribe myself very respectfully. 

Yours, &c* 
Paris, Sep. 11th, 1807. 

Copy of Gen 1 - Armstrong's Letter to J. B. 

Paris, 10th Sep., 1807. 

Sir, — In answer to my letter of y e 23 of Aug* last (a 
copy of w ch you have) his Majesty's minister of exterior 
relations has declared to me that y e only document to be 
found in y e archives of France w ch tends to fix or illus- 
trate y e boundaries of Louisiana is y e act of Louis 14 of 
Sep., 1718, by w ch y e province was declared to extend 
from y e English provinces (the Carolinas) on y e east, 
to the Spanish provinces of old & new Mexico on the 
west, & from y e sea northerly to y e Illinois river includ- 
ing the Missisippi & Misouri rivers & all y e streams, 
lands, & countries watered by streams falling directly or 
indirectly into y e s d river Missisippi from y e sea to y e 
Illinois afores d ; that y e eastern limit having undergone 
various changes before y e transfer by France to y e United 
States, nothing is to be infered from this act in relation 
thereto, but that with regard to y e western boundary, it 
presents y e pretensions & rights of w ch France believed 
herself to be possessed, when in 1803 she made y e trans- 
fer to y e U. S. & are those, w ch she did urge & w d have 
continued to urge with Spain had she proceeded to settle 
with that power y e western boundary in her own right. 
I am, Sir, with great respect, 

Yr. most ob. liumb. serv* J. A. 

Paris, Sept' 10 th , 1807. 
His Excellency, Gen. Armstrong. 

Sir, — I received your ill judged, unauthorized &, I 
might say, abusive letter of the 30 th ultimo on the 31 st , 


and it was my determination not to have troubled you 
again with my letters ; but compelled by official duty, I 
proceed to such observations as occur to me grounded on 
your letter of yesterday. 

It appears to me, Sir, by that letter, altho' the subject 
of it is not so explicit as it might or ought to be made, 
yet I think it gives sufficient grounds on which to expect 
an amicable negotiation with Spain on those points which 
are very important to be ascertained & settled at this 
crisis. It amounts to a declaration on the part of France, 
that y e retrocession of Louisiana by Spain extended to & 
included the rivers Bravo & Sallado, as y e western bound- 
ary of the ceded territory, agreably to all the old maps 
of that country made contemporary with the French set- 
tlements and establishments therein. I therefore con- 
sider the path to negotiation & arrangement to be 
opened, and that Spain will no longer refuse to appoint 
commissioners to settle the disputes & to make y e ar- 
rangements necessary therefor. How far this event can 
or ought to be brot about under our joint commission is 
somewhat questionable. The President has order'd the 
negotiations if any had been begun to be suspended on 
account of the present posture of our affairs with Eng- 
land ; but as that instruction has reference to the pay- 
ment of money thro' the purchase of y e Floridas, so I 
think it is not incompatible with that direction & with 
the last instructions of M r Madison to pursue a negotiation 
to settle the boundaries, adjust the spoliations, and to pro- 
cure some stipulations in favour of our citizens for the use 
of the waters of the Mobile & y e other rivers having their 
sources within the limits of y e United States & passing 
through West or East Florida into the Bay of Mexico.. 
These objects might be brot under my particular commis- 
sion as Minister Plenipotentiary near the Court of his 
Catholic Majesty, did my health permit me to take a jour- 
ney to Madrid. But as I have the President's permission 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 423 

to return home, if I see fit, so I submit to you the propriety 
of joining me in a letter to M r Erving, to request him to 
make known the construction that this gov* gives to the 
retrocession of Spain, and that the American commission- 
ers at Paris demand a definitive answer, whether y e Spanish 
gov* is willing to authorize commission 18 on its part to 
meet us at Paris to treat upon the several objects herein 
stated as above ? In this case the Spanish gov 1 will be 
reduced to the necessity to declare its intention & must 
take the consequences of a refusal. 

If you think it will comport with the letter or spirit of 
our instructions & is worthy of attention, I will join you 
in a letter for this purpose, and will leave it to your op- 
tion whether it shall be drawn up by you or me. 

It is proper that I should acquaint you that as soon as 
I shall be able to discharge myself of the commission with 
which I am jointly charged with you I shall resign my 
commission of Minister to y e Court of Spain & shall 
return home. 

I should be glad to receive a copy of the note of this 
gov* on which your letter of yesterday is grounded as well 
as a copy of M r Madison's last instructions to us jointly. 
I have the honor to be, Sir, your most ob* servant. 

J. B. 


Paris, 11 September, 1807. 

Sir, — I have this moment receivedyour letter of to- 
day. On the first paragraph of it I remark that both my 
letters of the 30th ultimo were written after the receipt 
of yours of the 29th. If, by several expressions in your 
letter of that date, you did not mean to insinuate that I 
had received and suppressed letters and pamphlets ad- 
dressed to you by the President and Secretary of State, 
you have been most unfortunate in conveying your 


ideas ; and if you did mean so to insinuate, your conduct 
deserved even more correction than it received. 

It appears to you that " the subject of my note of the 
18th is not so explicit as it might or ought to be made." 
Now the subject of that note is to inform you, 1st, 
That the archives of France contain no document other 
than the letters patent granted to Mr. Crosat, and dated 
14th September, 1712, which can either fix or illustrate 
the boundaries of Louisiana : 2 d , That these letters patent 
contain the illustrations which would have guided France 
in settling with Spain the limits of Louisiana, had she 
pursued a settlement of them in her own right : and 3 d 
That the boundaries laid down in these letters are from 
the Carolinas on the east to New Mexico on the west, 
&c, &c. Than the 1st and 2d articles of this statement 
nothing can be more explicit, and if your quarrel be with 
the third, you must permit me to suggest, that the de- 
scription it contains was not made by Mr. Champagny 
nor myself, but was given nearly a century ago and of 
course cannot be remedied by any censure of the present 
day. Indeed, from your own account of it it scarcely if 
at all deserves censure, for notwithstanding your first 
opinion that " it might, and ought to be more explicit " 
you go on to say of it, " that it gives sufficient grounds 
on which to expect an amicable negotiation with Spain, 
on those points which are very important to be ascertained 
and settled at this crisis ; that it amounts to a declaration 
on the part of France, that the retro-cession of Louisiana 
by Spain extended to and included the Rivers Bravo and 
Sallado as the western boundary of the ceded territory ; 
that it opens the path to negotiation and arrangement; 
and above all that in consequence thereof Spain will no 
longer refuse to appoint commissioners to settle the dis- 
putes, and make the arrangements therefor.' , 

Now, Sir, if it but perform all this, I really do not see 
that we have any reason to regret its want of explicit- 

1807.] JOHN ARMSTRONG. 425 

ness. Your next opinion is, that " it is questionable " 
whether we should or should not avail ourselves of this 
favorable circumstance to open a negotiation with Spain ? 
and after discussing the point pro et contra you come to 
the following conclusion, viz. : that though it be doubtful 
whether under our joint commission we can open this 
negotiation at present with Spain, yet that its objects 
being such as may be brought under your particular 
commission as Minister Plenipotentiary to his Catholic 
Majesty, you propose that I should join you in a letter 
to Mr. Erving, inviting him to make known the construc- 
tion that this government gives to the retrocession of 
Spain & demanding from it a definitive answer whether 
it will or will not appoint commissioners. On looking a 
second time over this part of your letter you cannot but 
see the irregularity of your inference ; for if the step you 
propose be only warranted by your special commission, 
and not by our joint commission, the signature of your 
footman would be just as useful to you as mine ; but, Sir, 
I must repeat (what on a former occasion I had the honor 
of stating) that whatever may be the scope of your par- 
ticular commission, mine does not reach to the making 
of any direct overture to the Spanish government in 
relation to this subject, unless that government shall 
have previously demonstrated an intention of adjusting 
the controversy by an amicable negotiation. 

With regard to the Mobille business (which is certainly 
very pressing) I consider the necessity of the case as 
taking it out of the general rule. The orders of the 
Secretary of State on this point appear to have been 
hypotheticated on a state of things which did not exist, 
viz. : 1st, an actual negotiation with Spain, on all the 
points in controversy ; or, 2d, the presence at Paris of 
some Spanish authority competent to settle this particular 
point. But inasmuch as no such negotiation or authority 
is to be found at Paris, and as the character of the busi- 


ness is not less distinct than it is urgent ; so far from see- 
ing any impropriety in Mr. Erving's taking it up, I really 
do not see how it can be taken up at present through any 
other medium. If therefore any sanction of mine is 
necessary to this object, in either your opinion or in that 
of Mr. Erving, it shall be readily given ; and with it a 
certified extract from Mr. Champagny's letter to me of the 
22 d ultimo to be used or not with the French Ambassador 
at Madrid, as Mr. Erving's discretion shall suggest ; but 
by the way, the giving of this extract will be unnecessary, 
as I have already furnished him with a copy of it. 

I have now given my opinion on the points submitted, 
and particularly how far I am willing to adopt your 
proposition ? The declaration transmitted in my note of 
the 10th (having been verbal) can only be given in the 
form in which I sent it. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, with high consideration, 
Your most obedient & very humble servant. 

John Armstrong. 

His Excellency M. Bowdoin, M.P., &c, &c. 

Paris, Sep r 14 th , 1807. 

His Excellency Gen. Armstrong. 

Sir, — I received your letter of the 11 th ins* on the 
evening of the 12 th . It is true that I did not think what 
your letter of the 10 th announces to be an answer from 
Mr. Champagny to your note of y e 23 d of August was so 
explicit as I thot " it might or ought to be made." My 
reasons for that opinion were that altho' M r Champagny's 

* The "Copy " from which this letter is printed is in the handwriting of an amanuensis, 
and was sent to Mr. Erving. At the end is a note in Mr. Bowdoin's own hand. It is in- 
dorsed by Mr. Erving "From M r Bowdoin to Gen 1 Armstrong, Sept. 14, 1807. Acknowl- 
edged by letter dated Sep. 27 th , in Postscript 30 th ." Apparently Mr. Erving's letter of 
September 27 was not preserved. — Eds. 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 427 

description of the boundaries of Louisiana might be cor- 
rect as far as it went, it did not probably contain all the 
evidence which y e French gov fc might or ought to furnish 
upon the subject, for the reason that I had often heard 
you speak of an old plan in the French archives on w ch 
Mr. Tallerand's name was inscribed, indicating the western 
boundary of Louisiana to extend to the Rio Bravo; added 
to which, I know that the boundaries of almost all y e 
French as well as English American colonies are ex- 
tremely vague & inexplicit, & rest more strongly upon the 
charts, maps & possession of the first discoverers & settlers 
than upon the letter of their particular descriptions. 

Your letter of the 10 th ins* also calls M r Champagny's 
answer a " declaration " which left me at a loss whether it 
was a written or a verbal one : that if it was verbal, the 
custom of ministers did not give authenticity to such com- 
munications, and therefore that Mr. Champagny's declara- 
tion c d not be considered a public document, nor your 
letter grounded upon it used as such. It was under these 
impressions that I thot myself authorized to use the ex- 
pressions I did, which were only intended to suggest to 
you that a further and fuller explanation from Mr. 
Champagny might be necessary. 

Willing, however, to give the fullest credit to Mr. Cham- 
pagny's friendly disposition, as well as to your motives in 
making it known to me, I was disposed to consider your 
letter to be grounded upon an official document, & there- 
upon suggested to you my hopes & expectations of a 
negotiation as well as y e difficulties which might obstruct 
or impede one. 

The first difficulty which occurred to me was grounded 
upon my situation under our joint commission, which 
arose out of y e President's letter to me dated on the 10 th 
of July last, wherein after speaking of the situation of 
the U. S. in regard to G. Britain he says : " In this state 
of things cordial friendship with France and peace at 


least with Spain become more interesting. You know 
the circumstances in respect to this last power which 
have rendered it ineligible that you sh d have proceeded 
heretofore to your destination ; but this obstacle is now 
removed by their recall of Yrujo & appointment of an- 
other minister, & in y e mean while of a charge des 
affaires who has been rec d : the way being now open for 
taking your station at Madrid it is certainly our wish you 
sh d do so, and that this may be more agreeable to you 
than your return home as is sollicited in yours of May 1 st , 
it is with real unwillingness we sh d relinquish the benefit 
of your services ; nevertheless if your mind is decidedly 
bent on that, we shall regret but not oppose your return. 
The choice therefore remains with yourself; in the mean 
time your place in the joint commission being vacated in 
either event, we shall take the measures rendered neces- 
sary by that " : &c, &c. 

Mr. Madison in his letter to me dated on the 17 th of 
July also observes, "I have the honor to enclose a pri- 
vate letter from the President, which renders it unneces- 
sary for me to say more in reference to y e considerations 
which personally interest you than that he acquiesces in 
your proposed return to y e U. S., but with y e wish to avail 
y e public of your services at Madrid, if not disagreable 
to you, and if there be no objection to this arrangement pre- 
sented by circumstances in our affairs with Spain better knoivn 
to you than to ws." 

It was these paragraphs of the President & Mr. Mad- 
ison's letters, taken in connection with our last instruc- 
tions of the 15 th of July, which made it questionable in 
my mind how far any negotiation with Spain c d take 
place under the present joint commission : supposing 
that Mr. Madison had acquainted you with the general 
contents of these letters, I did not think it necessary to 
sooner inform you of them. 

It was with a view of meeting y e present crisis of our 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 429 

affairs as well as that our country sh d derive all the ad- 
vantages from it which it presents that I made you the 
proposition I did of joining you in a letter to Mr. Erving, 
that he might apply to the Spanish gov* to procure if pos- 
sible the appointment of commissioners to confer with us 
upon the several points & interests pending between y e 
two states, and as a motive thereto to suggest to y e Span- 
ish gov* the desire of this gov 1 to see a happy termina- 
tion of our disputes as well as y e sense that it entertains 
of our territorial rights & claims in regard to Louisiana. 
I can safely say that I saw nothing in this proposition 
incompatible with the views of the President or with M r 
Madison's last instructions, wherein he says " that the 
President trusts that our management of the whole busi- 
ness will be such as will best comport with the circum- 
stances of the crisis, & conduce most to the objects 
entrusted to us," especially as y e President as well as 
Mr. Madison had acquainted me that the circumstances 
which had rendered it ineligible that I sh d proceed to 
Madrid had been removed : whereby it must be supposed 
that there c d be no impropriety in directing a communi- 
cation to be made to y e Spanish gov* on the subject of 
the subsisting differences. 

My proposition was made with no view to press myself 
into this service, but merely to fulfill a duty which the 
present crisis in our affairs seemed to enjoin. But if you 
still continue to think that this gov* will not interpose its 
mediation & y e Spanish gov* not be induced to appoint 
commissioners to meet us, I shall take the decision which 
in that case I shall think necessary to pursue. 
I am, Sir, y r most ob. servant. 

Paris, 15 Sep* 1807. I send you y e foregoing copy of 
my letter to Gen! Armstrong that you may be apprized of 
every thing w ch is passing. I have only time to subscribe 
myself very respectfully yours. J. B. 




Paris, Sep' 16 th , 1807. 

It is a part of the last paragraph only of Mr. Bowdbin's 
letter, of the 14 th instant which requires an answer, viz: 
" If, says Mr. Bowdoin, you still continue to think that 
this government will not interpose its mediation and the 
Spanish government cannot be induced to appoint com- 
missioners to meet us, I shall take the decision which in 
that case I shall think it necessary to pursue.' ' 

My opinions on these heads are of the less importance 
to Mr. Bowdoin, as I have already had the honor of 
putting before him the answers of this government, ver- 
bal & written, to my several applications; and as with 
regard to the disposition of the Court of Spain, I know 
nothing, except what Mr. Bowdoin (in his letter of the 
19 th of August) has himself been pleased to communicate. 

I have the honor of offering to Mr. Bowdoin the assur- 
ances of my high consideration. 

(Signed) John Armstrong. 

G, W. Erving. 

My dear Sir, — I have lately enclosed you copies of 
my correspond 06 with Gen. A. w oh I hope you have duly 
rec d , as also the copies of letters from y e Presid* & from 
Madison to me with a copy of M r Madison's letter to 
Gen 1 A. & me & also the copies of y e continuance of my 
correspond 06 . Gen 1 A's last letter (16) rec d the last even- 
ing I now send you. My determination being to quit 
Paris on my return home as soon as I shall hear that 
y e Prince of Peace continues in his late disposition of not 

* This letter is written below the copy of General Armstrong's note of September 16 
to Mr. Bowdoin. — Eds. 


permitting a negotiation to be opened on y e subject of y e 
subsisting differences on y fe proposition of y e President 
under y e joint comrn" entrusted to Gen. A. & me. I shall 
wait with impatience your reply to this letter. I hope 
therefore you will not fail to write me immeadiately on 
the rec fc of it, & to acquaint me with y e actual disposi- 
tion of the Spanish gov 1 & whatever you know or can 
obtain upon the subject of it, that it may not be said that 
I had abandoned the public interest, altho I had the 
President's permission to retire. If you have any thing 
to send to Engl d , or that you wish I sh d procure for you 
while there, I beg you will acquaint me with it by the 
first post after rec g this letter. In case there is no likeli- 
hood of a negotiation, w ch I can hardly hope for, I shall 
proceed from hence for Engl d where I shall pass y e 
winter & early in y e spring I shall embark for the U. S. 
If I can render you any service you will freely command 
me. I am apprehensive that you will not find things 
as much to your mind as you may expect, the tendency 
of our politics at home, as well as your connection if, you 
are to have one with 1501 do not forbode any thing very 
agreable. Observe to be very particular what you write 

either to M r M or 1501 : be assured vou stand in 

need of this hint. I am so oppressed with business that 
it is not in my power to write you on the subject of 
our affairs generally or in regard to present political 

Believe me always, d r Sir, with great regard yours, &e\ 

Paris, Sep. 20, 1807. 


London, October 10, 1807. 
Sir, — The circumstances attending the late aggression 
on the sovereignty of the United States by an attack 


of an American frigate off the capes of Virginia by a 
British ship of war, the Leopard, are well known to you. 
Being an act of hostility, it could not fail to produce the 
most important effect on the political relations of the 
two countries. It was made the ground of immediate 
remonstrance to the British government, who did not 
hesitate to disavow the act and the principle on which 
it was founded. Our government perceiving the con- 
nection which that outrage had with the general practice 
of impressment found in it a new motive for insisting on 
the suppression of the practice, while it claimed of this 
government other reparation for the injury which the 
United States had received by so great an indignity. In 
obedience to the orders of the President this claim has 
been brought by M r Monroe to the view of the British 
government, and urged with great earnestness, but with- 
out producing an arrangement of the interest in ques- 
tion. The pressure has terminated in a decision of this 
government, which has been officially announced, to send 
a minister to the United States with full powers to adjust 
the business with our government. It is understood that 
this minister will be sent for this special object, but we 
have not been advised either of the person who is to be 
employed in it, or of the full extent of his powers. It 
is impossible, therefore, for us to form a satisfactory opin- 
ion of the result of the measure. We hasten, however, 
to communicate to you the actual state of the business, 
on the presumption that it may be useful to the United 
States, and satisfactory to you to be acquainted with 
it. This letter is committed to Doctor J. Bullers, who 
brought us dispatches from our government, and who 
takes this to you by its order. 

We have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, 
Your obedient servants. 

Ja 3 Monroe. 

James Bowdoin, Esq*., &c, &c, &c. Paris. ™ m Pl^ K NEY. 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 433 


London, Oct' 11, 1807. 
My dear Sir, — Our joint letter gives" you the result 
of the pression which I have made on this gov* relative 
to the late aggression in the case of the Chesapeake. It 
is determined to send a minister to the U. S. to treat on 
the subject with our gov*, to which measure I have 
neither given support or opposition. The decision left 
me without anything to do, & of course at liberty to 
return home, w h I am now preparing to do, tho the 
season is far advanc'd. We expect to sail in ab* 8 days 
from this time, having engaged the cabbin of a ship 
which sails for the Chesapeake, the Augustus, Captain 
Howe. I greatly rejoice that I am able to set out for 
my country after all the difficulties to which I have been 
exposed & distress of mind which I have sufferd. M" 
Monroe & my daughter unite to mine their best regards 
to M™ Bowdoin & Miss Winthrop. Be so good also as 
to remember me particularly to M r Sullivan. D r Bullers 
will supply in details of publick affairs what it is impos- 
sible for me to add. I beg you to be assured that I am, 
with very sincere regard, my dear Sir, 

Very truly yours 

Ja s Monroe. 

Remember me to M r Barnett. 


Geo. W m Erving, Esq e . 

My dear Sir, — I have had the pleasure to rec e your 
letter of the 12 & 19 th & 22 d of August, with the papers 
accompanying it by M r Merriault, & also yours of the 12th 
& 16th Sep 11 by post. They shew what have been the 
results of discussion between you & y e Spanish gov*, as 



well as the little probability there is that France will 
so interfere in our disputes as to procure the appoint- 
ment of commissioners on the part of Spain for their 
arrangement. This important point is so fully ascer- 
tained that no doubt can be left on its subject, and that 
this gov 1 has been amusing 1501 whilst he himself has 

been amused with that scoundrel Pa s schemes of 

speculation, who has had the impudence to palm them 
upon a principal officer of this gov 1 , while 1501 has been 
the instrument of imposing them upon the President. I 
notice that you write to y e scoundrel, but I hope you 
have no concerns with him of any sort, or if you have you 
cannot too soon put an end to them. My situation here 
has been made as disagreeable to me as a worthless 
corrupt fellow could make it. Even my letters from y e 
President & from gov* have been opened or intercepted 
by him, and I believe that both the French & Americans 
here have but one opinion in regard to him, w ch is that 
he is as unfit as unworthy of the place he holds. I thank 
God I have done with him, & I hope forever. I give 
you these hints to put you upon your guard, that you 
may not be drawn into a connection, or give him your 
confidence. M r Skipwith you will find a man of honour, 
and both able & willing to give you any political infor- 
mation you may want here. M r Barnet will send you 
newspapers or execute any commission you may want. 
If you write to M r Barnet you must permit him to charge 
you with the postage and the little incidental expenses 
on any thing you may desire. I herewith send you the 
rec ts for newspapers that you may see how to give M r 
Barnet instructions relative to them in future. I pray 
you to give Alex r if he is with you a guinea for a number 
of little things he did for me after I left London. I 
c d write you on the state of our affairs, but I have not 
time & do not think it necessary. We have whispers 
here that Engl d has accepted the mediation of Russia, but 

1807.] WILLIAM LYMAN. 435 

I don't know how to credit it & I have not much confid ce 
in the (quarter from which I rec d it. The Guards & some 
of the principal corps of the French army are on their 
march to return to Paris. I beg you to write me when 
I shall be in Lond under the care of the American 
minister, or of M r Tho 8 Dickason, as you see best. Re- 
member that postage in Engl d is a serious expense, & 
pray don't burthen me with bulky papers. I shall leave 
the few official papers I have with M r Skip with, subject 
to your orders. I shall write you fully from Engl d if I 
find a way open, of which you must acquaint you. M r 
Barnet will acquaint you with the day of my quitting 
Paris, which I expect will be in a few days. My things 
at S* Ander I suppose are on their passage to Boston. If 
you wanted any of them I am sorry you did not give me 
timely notice of it. I am now to take my leave of you, 
& to wish you prosperity & success in your official pro- 
ceedings at Madrid, and to assure you that it will always 
give me pleasure to see you in America, where I conclude 
you will find it both your pleasure & interest to pass the 
evening of life. M rs B., my niece, & M r S. join me in 
best regards. 

Believe me always, with much esteem & attachment, 

m >' d ' Sir > Yours. 

Paris, Oct° 11, 1807. 



American Consulate and Agency, London, 
October 23, 1807. 
James Madison, Esq?, Secretary of State, 

Sir, — As the practice of impressing our seamen into 
the British navy, connected as it is, or rather I should 

* William Lyman was born in Northampton Dec. 7, 1755, and graduated at Yale Col- 
lege in 1776. Not much is known of his early life, but in Shaj-s's insurrection he was an 


say exemplified as it was in the late attack of his 
Britannick Majesty's ship of war the Leopard on the 
United States frigate Chesapeake, had become a momen- 
tous point or subject of discussion between the two 
countries, I deemed it w r ould not be unacceptable to 
communicate not only every official but other informa- 
tion which this situation afforded. Accordingly I had 
the honour to address you in the premises both on 
the 1 st and 14 th of August last ; w T hich letters I doubt not 
will be duly received. And at this time I come further 
to observe that instantly after the particulars of that 
enormity were understood here there appeared a steady 
and constant endeavour on the part of this government 
and administration, and also amongst the apologists for 
the political transactions of this country to seperate that 
outrage, as wholly disconnected therewith, from the claim 
and practice which gave rise to and was the cause thereof. 
The absurdity of the conclusion sufficiently exposed the 
fallacy of this mode of reasoning. Will it be pretended 
that the necessary satisfaction for an injury or aggression 
is made unless the remedy goes to the cause. But sup- 
pose a division of the subject and that the most ample 
reparation in point of form is offered for that particular 
aggression, can it be the disposition of the United States, 
is it compatible with their honour and welfare, longer to 
submit to injuries so ruinous and degrading to their citi- 
zens, even to avert hostilities ? To me it seems not. 
And I will venture to say that whenever the information 
of this office is disclosed and made public the w T orld w r ill 
be surprised and our friends blush at our forbearance 
under such indignities. It is in this case as in all cases 

aid to General Shepard. In 1787 he was a member of the House of Representatives of 
Massachusetts, and in 1789 a member of the Senate. From 1793 to 1797 he was a member 
of Congress, and from 3796 to 1800 a brigadier-general in the Massachusetts militia. In 
1805 he was made United States Consul at London. He died in Cheltenham Sept. 22, 
1811. He was buried in Gloucester Cathedral. See Dexter's Yale Biographies, vol. iii. 
pp. 619, 620. — Eds. 

1807.] WILLIAM LYMAN. 437 

of injuries particularly between nations : The patient 
submission is considered as implying either want of 
power or spirit to avenge our wrongs and only invites a 
further aggression. And most certainly the truth of this 
axiom is fully verified in this practise of impressment. 
For this government, or rather most of its officers, from 
a toleration in such an unrestrained and capricious exer- 
cise of power seem now to claim it as a right, and in 
very many instances, particularly when in want of men, 
totally disregard every circumstance and evidence of 
citizenship or national character, accompanied with the 
retort of a disdainful curse for both character and coun- 
try ; and in all cases the most frivolous pretexts, or even 
" suspicions light as air are confirmations strong," to set 
aside the best founded claims. In short the instruments 
of this brief authority play such fantastic tricks as to 
make e'en angels weep. Individuals who are impressed 
are often bound, starved and scourged into submission 
and a service abhorrent to their feelings and repugnant 
to their duties. There is not, at this time, I believe, a 
single ship of war in the British navy, whose crew does 
not consist partly, and in some instances on distant sta- 
tions principally, of American seamen. The testimony of 
a number of men discharged from a frigate lately arrived 
from the West Indies concurred in the assurance that 
four-fifths of her 250 men were Americans. And authen- 
tic information communicated to this office proves that 
about 50 of our seamen were on board the Bellona, 
Douglas, the Commodore's ship, in Hampton Eoads, at 
the time of the attack on the Chesapeake, and that he 
knew them to be such, and even added, which in justice 
to him I must not omit, that in case of hostilities with 
the United States they should not be forced to fight 
against their country. Indeed every enterprize and 
naval engagement, the capture of Buones Ayres or 
victory of Trafalgar, are pregnant with evidence of 


American sacrifice and valour. The number of those 
now forcibly held in the British naval service cannot, I 
am confident, from the information in this office be esti- 
mated at less than fifteen thousand, who are continually 
falling victims to a dangerous service and a keen sense of 
their wrongs; — this, too, in addition to the individual 
and national injustice of submission whereto I believe no 
nation can furnish an example, must justly be viewed and 
complained of by the other belligerents as at the least a 
sin of omission and passive infraction of our neutrality. 

The foregoing remarks and observations I have been 
impelled to add to the regular details and returns of this 
office, I confess, from a high sense of the wrong ; and 
also because I have constantly witnessed, especially of 
late, a disposition on the part of this government and all 
its apologists and apostles to keep this subject out of 
sight. They continually observe that Great Britain hath 
from time immemorial exercised the right of search and 
taking her seamen from private vessels. You would not 
surely, say they, therefore go to war about a few men. To 
this I reply, that this right as it respects all nations except 
ourselves is, on account of their language and manner, a 
mere dormant and harmless claim, a thing only on paper 
or imaginary, not practical as towards us ; the reason 
probably why it never was by them seriously contested. 
But suppose this right allowed, we have another right ; 
which is to insist that if like Shy lock (you will pardon 
the allusion) they insist on taking the flesh they shall 
not take a drop of blood. The right to take their own 
does not involve the right to take our seamen. Where- 
fore we have the right at the least to insist that the 
former shall be so regulated and exercised as to leave 
untouched the latter. 

Having said thus much relative to this important sub- 
ject of complaint, it is but just to add some remarks on 
the practice and disposition of this government in afford- 

1807.] WILLIAM LYMAN. 439 

ing individual reparation. And in the first place it must 
be observed the burthen of proof is invariably put on the 
part of the application; and, on the production thereof 
and statement of the case to the Lords Commissioners of 
the Admiralty, it is by them disposed of by advising that 
the applicant is on foreign service and station, and there- 
fore that no steps can be taken for his discharge, or other- 
wise ordering a report by the admiral of the station where 
he may happen to be, particularly in the case. And 
here again either rules the most arbitrary and capricious 
or no rules at all or pretexts the most frivolous and even 
subterfuges the most pitiful for the most prevail. At 
one time no such person is to be found, because perhaps 
he has been mustered by a different name ; at another the 
document or evidence is insufficient ; or he has entered ; 
or is thought to be an Irishman or an impostor or has 
married in Ireland, &c, &c, &c, or some one other of 
the causes equally weighty, and so numerous as to tire 
e'en Fabius to relate, and which to read, I feel, must ex- 
cite the most painful and indignant emotions. However, 
to you who have so amply the talents of knowing and 
vindicating a country's rights or avengeing her wrongs 
a further recital will be unnecessary. 

But, although the right is admitted, the want of power 
to maintain it will, I foresee, be objected, and the imagi- 
nation, as I have witnessed on a former critical occasion, 
assailed with all the magnified consequences and evils of 
a war ; and even a bloody Indian warfare will be conjured 
up to add terror to the scene. And is it then intended to 
relinquish and abandon the protection of our seamen on 
board our own vessels ? Pardon me for putting the 
question. It cannot be. Sooner rather would I expect 
the determination to perish nobly in the conflict. No ; 
but Great Britain will finally yield to sober reasoning and 
sound argument and acknowledge or concede this right. 

But is there any precedent on record to encourage this 


expectation ? And what says our experience of twenty 
years ? How stand the facts at this juncture ? Why, 
that the practice of impressment hath continually grown 
and encreased with our long sufferance, and now is 
followed with I may say a shameless arrogance and 
effrontery ; just forsooth as if Great Britain were con- 
sidered the executor and residuary legatee of the sailors 
of all nations and the rights of the sea. 

There is, I am aware, another objection against decisive 
and vigorous measures on the part of the United States 
at this time urged ; which certainly is founded in truth, 
yet nevertheless is not entitled to all the consideration 
commonly yielded thereto. It is this, that the United 
States are growing, and must consequently at some future 
period be better able to repel aggression and assert their 
national dignity. This, to be sure, I do not deny. But 
it does not thence follow that they are unable at this 
time. And for one I humbly presume to think that 
nothing contributes more essentially to safety and great- 
ness than a just estimate and regard for ourselves. It is 
indeed among the first of both moral and political duties : 
the non-performance thereof is commonly followed by a 
proportionate punishment or calamity. For a nation, it 
appears to me, there can be no sounder maxim than to do 
justice to all, fear none, and never forget their friends. 

However, from this contemplation of evils to ourselves, 
permit me to turn your attention to those which the ad- 
versary will have to encounter: — such as the loss of 
colonies and our commerce ; the decay of manufactures, 
with the declension of agriculture and husbandry ; the 
embarrassment of finance and deficiency of revenue ; and, 
finally, non ambignas sparger e voces, a national bankruptcy 
and revolution. If even we but stay our hand the system 
here will be paralysed and cease to move. 

Thus you see, Sir, that in the event of a war this 
country will have little to hope (for she can only annoy 

1807.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 441 

our commerce) and every thing to fear ; whereas on the 
contrary the United States would have nothing to fear 
and every thing to hope. For it must be remembered 
that even in the Revolution war a French fleet sailed un- 
disturbed up the Channel, and a small squadron of two or 
three of our ships, under John Paul Jones, sailed round 
and landed several times, to the great annoyance of the 
inhabitants on this island, and thereafter defeated one of 
their squadrons and took several of their ships. What 
ought not therefore to be calculated upon now ? 

Notwithstanding your so extensive means of informa- 
tion, particularly by M r Monroe, who at this time is 
about to sail in the Augustus for the Chesapeake Bay, I 
have thought it not irrelevant to the occasion and my situ- 
ation thus much to observe ; and I hope the sincerity of 
the motive may serve as an apology for the effort. 

I pray you to be assured of the high consideration with 
which I am, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant. 

(Signed) W M Lyman. 


Geo. W m Erving, Esq*. 

My dear Sir, — Without entering into a detailed re- 
ply to your letters of the 23d of Sep. & of the 6th & 8th 
instant, the latter rec d here, & the former y e evening before 
quitting Paris, I w d observe, that by the Presid fc ' s letter 
to me of the 10th of July, he seems to think that y e 
honor of our gov* had been satisfied in the recall of 
Yrujo ; & that I might proceed with propriety to Madrid; 
if so, for what purpose sh d I proceed ? if not to enter 
upon the business of a minister & attempt those negoti- 
ations there which c d not & I believe will not be obtained 
at Paris. The President may appoint another minister, 


& pursue the schemes of deception w ch have been marked 
out for him by 1501, & his motley coadjutors ; but nothing 
but an extreme case will give such a treaty as will be 
desired & accepted by the U. S. The chapter of accid ts 
may produce one ; but regular & progressive negotiation 
grounded on the motives & interests of y e respective 
parties will not ; that is, thro a French mediation without 
the intervention of special & particular causes. 

With respect to another point on which you request 
explanation I w d only observe that you will probably 
find the man of whom you enquire & of whom I have 
given you a hint does not deserve your confid ce : he is a 
candidate for — & will pursue all means, fas ant nefas to 
obtain his object ; and you may be assured he cannot 
bear the man who is supposed to have the least regard 
for your friend lately in Lond . This unpardonable sin 
you have committed, & you may rest assured it will not be 
forgiven, whatever you may suppose to the contrary ! This 
sufficiently explains the hint given in respect to one man, 
whilst I must suppose you cannot give your confid 06 to 
the other: you must however be guarded ag st his tricks & 
deceptions & prevent your correspond 06 except with him- 
self, from passing thro his hands ; for you may be assured 
it will be read or purloined : this is what I have experi- 
enced & you have nothing better to expect from him ! 

M r Monroe wrote me the 11th instant from London & 
he expected to embark in the Augustus, 'Cap* Hawes, in 
8 days : no treaty or concessions have been made by the 
British gov*, & they send out a minister specially to treat 
at Washington : so that no hostilities will be expected 
until the result of y e negotiation is had. Write me by 
every opp ty under cover to M r Pinkney, or of Tho 8 Dicka- 
son, jun r . My last letter to you was dated the 11 ins* at 
Paris. Adieu & believe me always with great regard, in 
** my family join. ^ -^ &(ja 

Cherbourg, Oct 26 th , 1807. 



Monticello, May 29, 08. 

Dear Sir, — I recieved the favor of your letter written 
soon after your arrival a little before I left Washington, 
& during a press of business preparatory to my departure 
on a short visit to this place. This has prevented my 
earlier congratulations to you on your safe return to your 
own country. There, judging from my own experience, 
you will enjoy much more of the tranquil happiness of 
life than is to be found in the noisy scenes of the great 
cities of Europe. I am also aware that you had at Paris 
additional causes of disquietude. These seem inseparable 
from public life, and indeed are the greatest discourage- 
ments to entering into or continuing in it. Perhaps 
however they sweeten the hour of retirement and secure 
us from all dangers of regret. On the subject of that 
disquietude, it is proper for me only to say that however 
unfortunate the incident I found in it no cause of dis- 
satisfaction with yourself, nor of lessening the esteem 
I entertain for your virtues & talents ; & had it not 
been disagreeable to yourself I should have been well 
pleased that you could have proceeded on your original 

While I thank you for the several letters I recieved 
from you during your absence, I have to regret the mis- 
carriage of some of those I wrote you. Not having my 
papers here I cannot cite their dates by memory ; but 
they shall be the subject of another letter on my return 
to Washington. 

You find us on your return in a crisis of great difficulty. 
An embargo had by the course of events become the only 
peaceable card we had to play. Should neither peace 
nor a revocation of the decrees & orders in Europe take 
place the day cannot be distant when that will cease to be 
preferable to open hostility. Nothing just or temperate 


has been omitted on our part to retard or to avoid this 
unprofitable alternative. Our situation will be the more 
singular, as we may have to chuse between two enemies 
who have both furnished cause of war. With one of them 
we could never come into contact ; with the other great 
injuries may be mutually inflicted & recieved. Let us 
still hope to avoid, while we prepare to meet them. 

Hoping you will find our cloudless skies & benign 
climate more favorable to your health than those of 
Europe, I pray you to accept my friendly salutations & 
assurances of great esteem & consideration. 

Th : Jefferson. 

M R Bowdoin. 


No. 83. 

I hasten, my dear Sir, to thank you for your friendly 
& obliging letter of y e 28th ult°; & I am extremely sorry 
that the salutary measure of y e Embargo meets so much 
opposition in this State : it is certainly a call upon y e 
patriotism of the country to submit to it with patience, 
to give it a fair experiment to prove its effects upon the 
belligerent nations to induce them to respect our flag & 
our commercial rights under y e acknowledged law of 

The British orders of council, notwithstanding what is 
suggested on y e face of them, were not called for to retal- 
iate the Berlin decree, which proved a nugatory measure 
for nearly twelve months, & might probably have con- 
tinued so for a longer time, had it not have derived force 
& effect from y e measures of y e British cabinet : the infer- 
ence therefore is that to retaliate the French decree, 
although the ostensible, was not the real ground of y e 
orders. Cobbet's Register & some of y e ministerial pam- 

1808.] JAMES BOWDOIN. 445 

phleteers better explain the reasons on which they were 
issued, when they suggest that y e orders are well calculated 
to try the question of maritime dominion & to levy a contribu- 
tion upon the commerce of other nations ; it is on this ground 
the people of England have been invited to submit with 
patience & firmness to the privations they are suffering 
from the loss of their commerce. Whether France & her 
dependences or England can best endure the privations 
incident to a loss of foreign commerce is questionable 
among the European politicians : my prevailing opinion 
is that y e English cabinet will be obliged to give way in 
y e course of a few months, unless British manufactures 
sh d find vent thro fraudulent means in the countries from 
which they are by law excluded. I consider all nations 
at issue with England on the question of her maritime 
dominion; — unfortunately it is blended with another 
question quite as difficult & dangerous to Europe, if 
not to the U. S., which arises from y e extension of y e 
power & dominion of France. Did France combine y e 
naval power of England with her own by land the world 
I fear w d prove too feeble to set bounds to her ambition ! 
I know not what assurances the administration has rec d of 
a probable change of policy in the French cabinet towards 
y e U. S. ; but sure I am that suggestions of the sort from 
whatever quarter rec d ought to be cautiously relied on. 
Without y e repeal of the British orders of council, or a 
general change in y e system of exclusion of British com- 
merce from the continent of Europe, it w d be quite in- 
Consistent with the general policy of that system to 
except therefrom the commerce of the U. S., or sh d the 
British orders of council be repealed, it might be even 
questionable, whether y e French cabinet will change or 
modify its system in favour of England, whatever it may 
do in regard to the U. S. I fully stated to you my opin- 
ion as to the general policy of the U. S. the last fall. I 
still refer you to that letter, & shall expect with impa- 


tience the pleasure of soon seeing & conversing with you 
here. M rs Bowdoin joins me in respectful complim ts to 
you & M rD Dearborn. 

Believe me, my dear Sir, with great esteem & regard, 
Yr. most ob. servant. 

J. Bowdoin. 

Boston, June 5 th , 1808. 

P. S. I wrote to M r Madison y 6 morning after my ar- 
rival & enclosed him M. r Pinkney's dispatches. I sh d 
have written y e Presid* ere this, but I have been sep- 
arated from my papers by living with Lady Temple until 
y e day before yesterday. This circumstance added to 
the presence of all kinds of business consequent upon re- 
establishing myself after so long an absence, must plead 
my apology. 


Madrid, Aug 1 27 th , 1808. 
To the Honorable James Bowdoin. 

My dear Sir, — A very favorable occasion of writing 
to the United States by the ship Leonidas, which has 
brought government stores to Algeirs, presenting itself I 
cannot but profit of an advantage, in these times so rare, 
of paying my respects to you & M rs Bowdoin, who I am 
very glad to hear have both safely arrived in our happy 
country. Perhaps duly to estimate the advantages which 
as a nation we possess it is necessary to have resided in 
Europe, or at least to have passed over it with some at- 
tention ; hence we have so many unquiet spirits. I wish 
that some patriotic old gentleman like Tom Boylston 
woud leave his wealth to establish a fund for paying the 
expences of their travelling. For myself at least I am 
certain that I am now by far a better citizen than I shoud 
have been if I had remained at home. 

1808.] GEOKGE W. ERVING. 447 

If I was very glad when you determined to return to 
the United States what has lately passed on this theatre 
has added most abundantly to the motives for congratu- 
lating you on having taken that decision ; — such a course 
of events ! — I wont characterize them further than to 
say that no country in this revolutionary age has experi- 
ienced more rapid, more extraordinary & more disagree- 
able changes ; we have been under military government, 
people government, & altogether without government; 
these have each of them been duly attended by the suite 
of evils which respectively belong to them. Thank God, 
at present there is the best prospect of a regular orderly 
state of things. The representatives from the provinces 
will meet here about the 10 th of the month ensuing & form 
a system from which there is every reason to believe that 
Spain will derive important advantages, & such indeed as 
to leave but little regret for the sacrifices which have 
been made to obtain them. From the talents, the lights 
& the patriotism of those men whom the revolution has 
brought into view every thing may be expected. As 
during the course of these transactions the communica- 
tion between this & the provinces has been entirely 
closed, you have already received more details respect- 
ing their operations than I am able to give you. Suffice 
it to say that the French have been everywhere com- 
pletely beaten, in some places by regular troops, in 
others by half armed peasantry ; they have been driven 
from all their posts, & have left behind them all their 
artillery & baggage. The King Joseph has been obliged 
to fly, & may consider himself very fortunate if he shoud 
be able to get on the other side the Pyrennes. In addi- 
tion to what you will see in the publick papers upon the 
present state of affairs ; this is a brief summary, — viz. 
The French have not more than from 6 to 8000 men left 
in Barcelona ; these are closely pressed by the Cataloni- 
ans & must inevitably be destroyed. The last reinforce- 


ments which were sent by the Emperor to Zaragosa were 
entirely cut up foot & horse. The remains of his force in 
Navarre make not more than 3 or 4000. Palafox with 
near 20,000 men is close at their heals, & Navarre is also 
in arms ; — hence there is no possibility that the 4000 
can effect a retreat. The Spanish troops from S* Ander 
under the Bishop have taken possession of the pass at 
Pancorvo; the French in pushing towards it abandoned 
Burgos with more precipitation than they did Madrid, 
they left not only their cannon & baggage, but in fine 
every individual thing, " their watches upon the tables," 
as a Spaniard told me ; — it appears that they coud not 
force the pass & King Jos h has returned to Burgos; 
against which place is marching a very fine army of up- 
wards of 40,000 men from Gallicia; a great body also 
from Arragon ; & from hence may be sent at least 30,000 
more; there cannot be 20,000 French at Burgos, so that 
their fate seems also inevitable. In Portugal Junot is 
rather worse off, because it is impossible that he can re- 
ceive reinforcements, his army is reduced to less than 
10,000, & he has Spanish, Portuguese, & English forces 
on all sides of him. With all this I do not think that 
the Emperor will abandon his project ; yet what is past 
does not seem to afford the most remote probability of 

The Danish, Dutch, & Saxon envoys followed King 
Joseph. The Nuncio, Russia & Austria with myself re- 
main. Yet it may not be inferred that Russia is about 
to engage against France ; I rather think that appear- 
ances are in favor of the supposition that she will unite 
with France & fall forthwith upon Austria. The latter 
manifestly expects an attack from some quarter. 

You will see immediately all the bearings of these late 
events upon our affairs ; therefore it will be needless for 
Trie to enter upon that subject. They require more than 
ever a steady helm. 

1808.] GEORGE W. ERV1NG. 449 

I hope that I shall one day have the pleasure of con- 
versing with you at large upon all these interesting mat- 
ters ; but I have had a very narrow escape from an entire 
disappointment in my future prospects. On the night of 
the 19 July in returning to my house from a neighbour's 
I was attacked by two assassins ; one of whom having a 
drawn sword in his hand aimed a thrust at me, in retreat- 
ing from which backwards I tripped against a stone & 
fell & thus avoided him, but on rising from the ground 
he made a more successful push, happily not a complete 
one; the sword struck one of my ribs just under the 
right breast & made a wound of about four inches long, 
but did not enter deep ; the cries of a servant boy who 
accompanied me alarmed the assassins & they then 

The Council of Castile has taken a proper interest in 
this transaction, & used its usual industry to discover the 
guilty, hitherto without success ; an anonymous letter 
has pretended to indicate to me the promoter of the 
attempt, an Italian of a very suspicious character, pre- 
tending to be a citizen of the United States, & actually a 
French spy ; but what credit is due to this suggestion I 
do not know; & am wholly at a loss to conjecture what 
may have been the motive of the person pointed out or 
of any other to kill me, & therefore rather conclude that 
the assassins were either robbers (tho they did not at- 
tempt to rob me, & I am assured that it is not usual to 
kill here unless one's money is refused, as in all other 
Christian countries) or that they mistook me for a French- 
man, for at that time many Frenchmen were disposed of 
in a similar manner. Be this as it may the case will 
not happen again ; it is a curious circumstance how- 
ever that a foreign minister in this court should be 
reduced to the necessity of always carrying pistols in his 
pocket ! 

I beg to be presented very respectfully & kindly to 


M rs Bowdoin, Miss Sally if she is yet a Miss, & to all en- 
quiring friends. 

With very sincere respect & esteem, my dear Sir, 

Yours truly. 

George W. Erving 


P. S. By this same conveyance I have written offi- 
cially & privately to M r M. requesting leave of absence & 
therefore flatter myself to be able to leave this in Nov r 
or Dec r , pass over to England if the state of our relations 
with that country admit, employ some few weeks there 
in settling my affairs, from thence go direct to Boston 
for the object which you know, for which purpose I shall 
hire or buy a vessel in London, & after passing a short 
time in Boston go to Washington, settle my accounts, 
and then — I have no ultimate project. 



Richmond, Jany 17 th , 1809. 

My dear Sir, — I was very sorry to learn by your 
kind letter of Nov r , the new disasters w h had befall'n 
our friend M r Skipwith. The part which you imme- 
diately took in his behalf did equal honor to your heart 
& to his merit. He is an honest & in my judgment 
a much injurd man. As such he has strong claims on 
the friendship of those who know him well, and been 
witnesses of his hard fortune. The history of the trans- 
actions in which he has been engaged is well known to 
you. I possess a general idea only, having been far re- 
moved from the scene, and warned at the time by many 
circumstances that my attention could be of no use to 
him ; but I know enough to be satisfied that he has been 

1809.] JAMES MONROE. 451 

greatly oppressed & injured. I doubt whether it is 
possible for his friends to do justice to him in his absence. 
I am inclined to think that he must return to his country 
& vindicate his own cause ; or not being able to return 
(sho d the hand w h arrested be able to keep him abroad) 
do it by instruction to some friend here. The act must 
be his own for it to have the proper effect. It is a 
melancholy spectacle to see so honest & patriotick a man 
completely run down. It is however to be hoped that 
he will finally obtain justice, & enjoy that considera- 
tion among his fellow citizens to which he has so fair a 

Permit me to consult you on a subject which relates 
to myself. You have known my conduct abroad with 
the several governments where I have represented our 
country and seen the difficulties of our situation with 
each. Your residence in France & England, and perfect 
acquaintance with our transactions with those powers, 
and likewise with Spain, by the superior opportunities 
which you have possessed from your official station, en- 
able you to form a more correct judgment on this subject 
than any other of my friends. You have seen me return 
home, after near five years service in the important trusts 
confided to me, not only injured in my fortune but prose- 
cuted in my fame. Conscious of havg. exerted myself 
with unwearied zeal & integrity to support the rights & 
interests of my country with each of those powers, I did 
hope that I sho d have escaped these unmerciful attacks. 
My letter from this town of Feby. 28 last answers M r 
Madison's critique on the treaty, so that I am not aware 

* For a notice of Fulwar Skipwith see ante, p. 309 note. In the library of the Histori- 
cal Society there is much printed and manuscript matter relating to his financial transac- 
tions, including the " Memoire pour James C. Mountflorence, Citoyen des Etats-Unis, 
re'sidant en France depuis plus de douze ans, Demandeur; contre Fulwar Skipwith. Citoyen 
des memes Etats, leur agent commercial a Paris, y demeurant dopuis et avant l'annee 1794, 
Defendeur," — a printed pamphlet of sixty-three quarto pages, and several other pamphlets 
relating to the suit. In 1826, and also about two years before, he was an unsuccessful 
applicant for the office of postmaster at New Orleans (see Memoirs of J. Q Adams, vol. vii. 
p. 201).— Eds. 


that it will" be necessary to add any thing on that sub- 
ject. My idea was, possessing as we did few means of 
coercion after pushing our pretentions as far as they 
could be carried, that it was wise policy to close on the 
terms of the treaty. I thought those conditions honor- 
able & advantageous to our country ; that the impress- 
ment interest was plac'd, by the paper of the British 
com rs of Nov r 8, 1806, and the explanations w h accom- 
panied it at that time, and afterwards when the treaty 
was signed, on quite a safe footing ; that the trade with 
enemy-colonies was plac'd on a very advantageous one ; 
that the navigation interest in the direct trade was 
equally well arranged ; and that other points were plac'd 
on an admissible one. You know that after the failure 
of the business with Spain, & our acquiescence under it, 
by opening a new negotiation with the French gov* in 
which new accomodations were offered, when a different 
tone might have been expected, that we had it less in our 
power to impose terms on G. Britain than we might 
have done if we had acted otherwise towards those 
powers. My idea was that it was important to stand 
well with some one power; and finding it impossible 
to come to any arrangement with the others, that it was 
highly expedient to close with the other on the condi- 
tions secur'd by the treaty. I was satisfied that by so 
doing we sho d improve our condition with France & Spain, 
& thereby pass tryumphantly thro' the war com par' d 
with the condition of any other nation under the sun 
& with that of the U. States in the preceding war. 
Had we adjusted our business with England, France 
would have perceived that by pressing us by new de- 
crees or by new explanations of that of Berlin she would 
have forc'd us into a closer connection with 'England, 
& that consideration would have induc'd her not to press 
us. As it is we have got into a state of hostility, or 
what is nearly allied to it, with both parties, while our 

1S09-] JAMES MONROE. 453 

interior is far from being in a state of content or even 

Among other unfounded imputations it has been insinu- 
ated that I had had some connection with the Repub- 
lican minority in the Congress, while I was abroad. I 
did presume that my conduct thro' life independant of 
the facts w h were well known of it in the late missions 
would have rescued me from such an imputation. My 
advice on leaving Spain had been (as given to Mr. Madi- 
son in a private letter of May 24, 1805) to press the 
business with that power; and on my return to London 
after the seizure of our vessels by G. Britain I advised 
the same course with her. The latter sentiment was 
communicated in an official dispatch of Oct r 18, 1805, 
in which I stated & answer'd the question " whether it 
was safe for us to assert & support our pretensions with 
both parties at the same time," by declaring that I 
thought it adviseable to act with each, as if we had 
no cause of complaint with the other. Neither did the 
adm 11 or the Republican minority take the course which 
I advised. The adm 11 pressed the business with Britain 
only, & the minority w T as for pressing it with Spain only. 
Till after the disagreement between them, I did not know 
what course either party would pursue. I could not tell 
what course the adm 11 would take till it had adopted it. 
I supposed that it would take the one which I had 
advised, because it seemed to me at least most likely 
to succeed. It was not likely that I sho d anticipate a 
difference of opinion on a question of policy between the 
adm 11 & me, and stimulate any of the members of Con- 
gress to attack the adm 11 on that ground, especially those 
who had been & were in the constant & systematick 
habit of supporting the adm 11 ; for such it is well known 
had been the conduct of M r Randolph, &c, to that time. 
Had I given such advice & it been acted on by those 
members, it is presumable that they would have adopted 


my plan ; the fact however was that they did not ; it is 
equally true that they knew nothing of it, untill after 
they had taken their own, when my letter of the 18 of 
Sep r above mentiond was laid before Congress. It is 
known that when that communication was rec d M r R. 
complained that it had not been sooner laid before 
Congress, as a knowledge of its contents might have 
produced an effect on its proceedings. These facts & 
considerations ought to have exempted me from such 
imputations, had I merited before the character of an 
intriguer & been remarkable for a false & hollow policy 
in my transactions with the world. It was impossible for 
me to express my sentiment on the part which the 
Republican minority took untill after it had taken, & I 
been advised of it. An opportunity was afforded me in 
that stage by M r R. to communicate to him my ideas on 
the subject, w h I availed myself of, & can assure yo.u that 
I did not hesitate to express my regret at it in as strong 
terms as a delicate respect for his character would permit. 
I wrote him two letters on that subject, of which I re- 
tained copies w h I should be happy to show you, & which 
you would find to contain nothing to justify the imputa- 
tions alluded to, or which even the malevolent could 
censure. I have expressd in those letters my opinions 
on some points, especially that of naval defense, in terms 
correspondent with those which you know I have long 

The above are the principal grounds on which I have 
been calumniated in this quarter, tho' it is possible that 
other charges may have been levelled against me else- 
where. The latter charge I have never notic'd in any 
publick communication, because I had flatter'd myself 
that my character wo d justify me against it where I was 
known, and that the facts above stated would do it with 
every other person. 

I wish you to give me your unreserved opinion whether 

1809.] JAMES MONROE. 455 

there is any point on which I have been assaild by politi- 
cal opponents or others on which my conduct requires 
further explanation with a view to do justice to it in the 
eyes of my fellow citizens. I am far from wishing to 
injure anyone even in defense of myself, especially those 
with whom I have been long connected in friendship & 
political harmony. I presume that that is not a neces- 
sary consequence of my own defense & I sho d certainly 
avoid giving it such a bearing. Nothing however but 
indispensable necessity w T ould induce me to draw the pub- 
lick attention to me in any shape at this time ; nothing 
but a deep conviction of injury & the advice of such 
friends as possess my entire confidence that I owed it 
to the vindication of my own character, and that it might 
be done without a possibility of injury to the publick 

You have seen the correspondence between the Presi- 
dent & myself lately published. That document goes 
fully as I presumed to exculpate me from censure. I re- 
quested the publication of it with that view in part. I 
wished also that my conduct in the correspondence, which 
preserved on its antient ground the relation of friendship 
with him, might be known to the publick, while it left in 
force my objections to certain measures of his adm n . His 
publick life has been illustrious & useful, & I shall al- 
ways take great interest in his happiness. 

My family, in which my daughter unites her senti- 
ments to those of her mother, desire to be affectionately 
remembered to M r3 Bowcloin & Miss Winthrop. Her 
connection with M r Hay was every way agreable to us. # 
To great talents in his profession & of a political nature 
& perfect morality he adds the most amiable qualities of 
the domestick kind. We live near each other, a circum- 
stance which will keep us much more in this town than 

* Eliza, one of the daughters of Mr. Monroe, married Hon. George Hay, who conducted 
the prosecution against Aaron Burr. — Eds. 


we sho d otherwise be. They unite in presenting their 
best regards to you & M r Sullivan. I have heard with 
great regret of the death of his father, whose life would 
have been most eminently useful at the present epoch. 
Such men cannot be spared when the cause of which 
they are the ornament & support is in danger. 
I am, dear Sir, with sincere & constant friendship, 
Very truly yours. 

Ja s Monroe. 



In the first part of the Temple and Bowdoin Papers 
(6 Mass. Hist. Coll., vol. ix. pp. 480-482) the Committee 
printed from John Temple's rough draught a memorial 
addressed by him to the Massachusetts Legislature in 
1782, with a suggestion that it might not have been sent 
to the Legislature in the precise form in which it had 
come into their hands. Since that time the memorial ac- 
tually presented has been found among some manuscripts 
in the possession of the Boston Athenaeum. The varia- 
tions are numerous but not material, but as the document 
is one of considerable interest and importance, it is here 
given in the form finally adopted. 


To the Honorable the President of the Senate, and to the 
Honorable the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Honorable Gentlemen, — A direct & willful falshood 
having been advanced by a writer who signs James Sulli- 
van in a letter addressed to me, in the Continental Jour- 
nal of Thursday the 22 d ultimo, in which he says, that in 
the memorial I had the honor of presenting thro' you on 
the 29 th of April last, to the two Houses of Assembly, I 
have therein avered that I procured & transmitted to 
this country the well remembered treasonable & incen- 
diary letters of the late Gov r Hutchinson, Oliver, & others, 
and that I had therein also demanded of my country 
a reward for that transaction, and the said Sullivan hav- 
ing also commented upon the same, in his newspaper 


letter, as tho' what he had so asserted were facts ! will 
your Honors be pleased to look into the said memorial 
now on the files of the General Court (copy of which I 
did not reserve to myself) and signify whither or not 
I have avered either that I did procure & send the said 
letters to this country ? or that I have demanded any 
kind of reward or compensation for having sent them ? 

In the memorial I had the honor of presenting to the 
two Houses I believe your Honors will find it set forth 
that Doctor Franklin and myself were dismissed from all 
the employments we held under the Crown of England 
expressly for our attachment to the cause of our country, 
and particularly for having obtained & transmitted to the 
State of Massachusetts, as. the Brittish Ministry were 
pleased to say, certain original letters & papers written 
by the late Gov r Hutchinson, Oliver, & others, which opin- 
ion of the Ministry is so notoriously known to have been 
the cause of our dismission that I imagine the most aban- 
don'd to falshood will not attempt to deny it, but my 
memorial is totally & designedly silent by what means 
the letters were obtained in England, or at whose desire 
they were transmitted to this country. 

Tis not yet three weeks since I publickly detected this 
same M r Sullivan in as willful and perhaps a more malicious 
falshood when he asserted that I & my friends were bitter 
enemies to D r Franklin ; and I then took occasion to say, 
that " by what means the letters he had busied himself 
about were obtained in England, and at whose desire they 
were transmitted under certain possitive injunctions for 
the perusal of seven gentlemen only of this common- 
wealth, was an important secret not yet lowered down to 
the level.of M r Sullivan's rank & consideration." These 
words I ag'ain repeat, and I also reassert that when the 
time comes for unfolding this secret which hath excited the 
curiosity of perhaps more than half Europe and all Norm 
America, the employers of said Sullivan, their partizan, 


will appear in black. I assert this from personal knowl 
edge, because D r Franklin consulted me upon every step 
he took in that memorable & important transaction! lie 
shewed me every line he wrote and every line written to 
him upon the occasion, & commented upon one of the let- 
ters written to him, in which was an attempt to palliate 
the violation of his injunctions, with more asperity than 
I ever before knew him to discover. His correspondents 
were the Eev d D r Cooper of Boston, & the Hon. Tho s 
dishing, Esq r , then Speaker of the House of R. One or 
two of their original letters upon the subject I have 
among some papers I left in Europe, which by mere 
accident or casual forgetf ullness was left in my hands by 
Doctor Franklin. 

I am very sensible, honorable Gentlemen, that the re- 
quest I have now made will be giving you some little 
trouble, but that manly & honorable desire of supporting 
truth, & of detecting falshood wheresoever they may be 
found, which must be predominant in your minds will 
powerfully & abundantly plead my excuse. 

I have the honour to be, with all deference & respect, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant, 

J. Temple. 

Boston, 2 d Sept*, 1782. 




Adams, Hon. John, 24, 20, 37, 72, 81, 88. 
Letters from, to James Bowdoin, 92,95. 
Letter to, from James Bowdoin, 84. 

Adams, Hon. Samuel, 12, 80. 

Aid rich, Judge Caleb, Rhode Island, de- 
clines to aid in the arrest of a fugitive 
from Massachusetts, 139. 

Alexander, , Vice-consul at Rotter- 
dam, 244, 245, 246, 247, 251. 

Allen, Lieut. Abel, Lancaster, 140. 

Allen, Gen. Ethan, 185. 

Allen, Major Solomon, Northampton, 153. 

Alline, Henry, 6. 

Ambuscade, French frigate, captures Brit- 
ish vessels on the American coast, 201, 
202, 203. 

American Academv of Arts and Sciences, 
65, 78. 

American vessels, arriving in French 
ports after the Berlin Decree, 357. 

Appleton, Nathaniel, Treasurer of the 
United States, 101, 102. 

Armstrong, Gen. John. Letters from, to 
James Bowdoin, 319, 320, 328, 329, 
330,343, 344, 401, 412, 416, 421, 423, 
430; the Prince of Benevento,385, 387, 
391; J. B. N. de Champagny, 414. 
Letters to, from James Madison, 297, 
347, 398, 402, 407, 426 ; Albert Galla- 
tin, 300; James Bowdoin, 347, 402, 
407, 426 ; the Prince of Benevento, 
389, 390; J. B.N. de Champagny, 413. 
Mentioned, 251, 256,257, 265, 267, 284, 
296, 297, 304, 305, 307, 311, 326, 332, 
339, 340, 343, 350, 353, 370, 374, 381, 
393, 398, 484. 

Arnold, Peleg, Smithjield, R. L, refused 
to aid in the arrest of a fugitive from 
Massachusetts, 138. 

Austerlitz, battle of, probable effects of, 


Barilam, Col. Ezra, 145, 147, 153. 
Barnet, Isaac Cox, 209, 270, 434. 

Barrett, Nathaniel, 87. 

Battelle, Col. Ebenezer, 128. 

Bayard, Hon. James A., embarrassing 
situation of, 228. 

Bell, Gap. William, 128. 

Benevento, Charles-Maurice de Tal- 
leyrand-Perigord, Prince of. Let- 
ters from, to John Armstrong, 389, 390. 
Letters to, from John Armstrong, 385, 
387, 391. Mentioned, 285, 286, 297, 
304, 305, 307, 312, 314, 316, 321, 323, 
324, 334, 335, 336, 337, 339, 340, 345, 

Berlin, Mass., attitude of, in Shays's in- 
surrection, 139. 

Berlin Decree, 354, 363, 374. 

Bernard, Sir Francis, 113. 

Bicknall, Lieut. Thomas, Grafton, a fugi- 
tive insurgent, 138. 

Bolton, Mass., attitude of, in Shays's in- 
surrection, 139. 

Bompart, Capt. , 202. 

Boston, Address to Gov. Bowdoin from 
the Merchants and Traders of, 50. Ad- 
dress from the Tradesmen and Manu- 
facturers of, 52. Gov. Bowdoin's reply 
to an address from, 111. Number of 
wool-cards made in, 195. Overwhelm- 
ing defeat of the Republicans in, 228. 

Bowdoin, James (Gov. of Mass., d. 1790), 
84, 38. Letters from, to Thomas Pow- 
nall, 21, 38; George Clinton, 58, 108, 
171 ; Governor of Connecticut, 62 ; 
Governor of Maryland, 63; Benjamin 
Franklin, 65, 183 ; Patrick Henry, 76 ; 
John Adams, 84; Nathaniel Gorham, 
103; William Shepard, 129; Rufus 
King and Nathan Dane, 107, 169, 170, 
172; George Washington, 184; Gov- 
ernors of New York, Connecticut, and 
Vermont, 185; Delegates in Congress, 
186 ; Charles P. Layard, 193, 194 ; John 
Temple, 195 ; Mercy Warren, 198. Let- 
ters to, from Thomas Pownall, 3, 23, 
30 ; Mrs. John Temple, 42 ; Richard 
Price, 47,78, 130, 187; Samuel Osgood, 
55, 99 ; William Vassall, 66, 105; Sam- 
uel Kirkland, 55 ; Elbridge Gerry, 83, 




196; John Adams, 92, 95; Nathan 
Dane, 97; Theophilus Parsons, 108; 
William Gordon, 113 ; Samuei Dexter, 
115; Artemas Ward, 118: William 
Shepard, 119, 126, 141, 146, 151 ; Levi 
Shephard, 125 ; Jonathan Warner, 131, 
148; John Brooks, 133; John Sullivan, 
134; Joseph Henshaw, 135; Benjamin 
Lincoln, 136, 145, 156; William Greer* 
leaf, 138; Samuel Huntington, 146; 
Royall Tyler, 156; Samuel Vau- 
ghan, Jr., 164; Noah Webster, 173; 
Benjamin Franklin, 189 ; George 
Washington, 192 ; Mercy Warren, 197. 
Address to the General Court, 46. Ad- 
dress from the Merchants and Traders 
of Boston, 50. Address from the 
Tradesmen and Manufacturers of Bos- 
ton, 52. Address from the Inhabi- 
tants of Newburyport, 56. Answer to 
the Address from Newburyport, 60. 
Address to the Inhabitants of Boston, 
111. Measures to be taken to support 
the Court at Cambridge, 128. Speech 
to the General Court, 159. Opens the 
bridge to Charlestown, 113. Elected 
a member of the Royal Society, 193. 
Death of, 199 n. Bowdoin College 
named for him, 211, 212. 
Bowdoin, James (Minister to Spain, d. 
1811). Letters from, to the Marquis 
of Buckingham, 199; Lady Temple, 
204; the Overseers of Bowdoin Col- 
lege, 210; Henry Dearborn, 230, 249, 
444; George W. Erving, 238, 254, 261, 
266, 279, 282, 287, 303, 307,311,314, 
320, 322, 323, 324, 325, 332, 333, 336, 
338, 339, 340, 342, 346, 349, 350, 351, 
352, 354, 356, 361, 364, 367, 369, 374, 
375, 379, 381, 393, 395, 405, 406, 410, 
411, 420, 430, 433, 441; Thomas L. 
Winthrop, 271 ; the President of 
the United States, 290; James Madi- 
son, 296 ; John Armstrong, 347, 402, 
407, 426. Letters to, from the Over- 
seers of Bowdoin College, 211 ; 
George Erving, 213, 222 ; Preeson 
Bowdoin, 221; Henry Dearborn, 224, 
226, 228, 232, 235, 236, 376 ; James 
Madison, 237, 297, 302, 383, 398, 403 ; 
Thomas Jefferson, 240, 317, 371, 396, 
443; George W. Erving, 241, 244,251, 
256, 446; Albert Gallatin, 300; Fulwar 
Skipwith, 309; John Armstrong, 319, 
320, 328, 329, 330, 343, 344, 401, 412, 
416, 421, 423, 430 ; James Monroe and 
William Pinkney, 358, 431; James 
Monroe, 363,433, 450. Gives land and 
money to Bowdoin College, 211. Nom- 
inated Minister to Spain, 235. Arrives 
in Paris from London, 254. Intends 
to return home as soon as the busi- 
ness with Spain is finished, 346. The 
want of harmony between him and 
Armstrong, 397, 398. Leaves Paris, 

Bowdoin, Preeson. Letter from, to 
James Bowdoin, about the education 
of his son, 221. 

Bowdoin College, letter from a Commit- 
tee of the Overseers of, to James Bow- 
doin, 211. Letter to, from James Bow- 
doin, 210. 

Bowers, Ensign Josiah, Lancaster, 140. 

Boylston, Thomas, commercial enter- 
prise of, 92, 93. Mentioned, 446. 

Bradford, Copt. Samuel, 128. 

Brattleborough, Vt., sympathizers with 
Shays at, 154. 

Breck, Samuel, notice of, 122 re. Letter 
to, from Samuel Lyman, 122. 

Brooks, Gen. John, 128. Notice of, 133 re. 
Letter from, to James Bowdoin, 133. 

Buckingham, George Nugent-Temple- 
Grenville, Marquis of. Notice of, 199 n. 
Letter to, from James Bowdoin the 
younger, 199. Mentioned, 42, 49, 

Buffington, Capt. Samuel, 152. Nar- 
rative of his pursuit of Luke and 
Elijah Day, 163. 

Bullard, , manager of Bowdoin's 

estate at Naushon, 276. 

Burr, Aaron, his enterprise countenanced 
by Yrujo, 373. Mentioned, 376, 383, 
384. Trial of, 403. 



Carleton, Sir Guy, notice of, 36 n. 

ter to, from John Temple, 36. 
Carmarthen, Erancis Osborne, Marquis 

of 98. 
Casa Calvo, Marquis de, 289. 
Cevallos, Pedro, 296, 331, 332, 337, 374. 


de {Due de Cadore), 312, 413, 424, 426, 
427. Letter from, to John Armstrong, 
413. Letter to, from John Armstrong, 

Chapin, Capt. , Bemardston, at- 
tempted assassination of, 148. 

Chapin, Col. - , 153. 

Chittenden, Gov. Thomas, Vermont, 144, 

Christopher, Joseph, purchaser of Pow- 
nall's land in Maine, 39. 

Claiborne, Gov. William C. C, Louisiana, 

Clap, Ezra, Westfield, 152. 

Clinton, George, Gov. of New York, 167, 
169, 185, 396. Letters to, from James 
Bowdoin, 58, 168, 171; Benjamin Lin- 
coln, 149. 

Confiscation of Loyalist Estates, 68 et 
seq., 81, 82. 

Connecticut, lays a duty on imports from 
other States, 62. Opposed to funding 
the domestic debt, 182. 

Connecticut, Governor of, letter to the, 
from James Bowdoin, 62. 



Cooper, Rev. Samuel, D.D., 5, 23, 24, 28, 

29, 30,461. 
Curtis, Caleb. Charlton, sent to Boston as 

an insurgent, 13'J. 
Pushing, Hon. Thomas, 461. 


Dalton, Tristram, letter to, from John 
Temple, 10. Mentioned, 58. 

Dane, Nathan, 84. Notice of, 97 n. Let- 
ter from, to James Bowdoin, 97. 

Dane, Nathan, and King, Kufus, Dele- 
gates in Congress. Letters to, from 
James Bowdoin, 167, 169, 170, 172. 

Dartmouth, William Legge, Earl of. 
Letter to, from John T<emp!e, 7. 

Dautremont, , interviews with Ful- 

war Skipwith, 310, 311. 

Davis, Major Robert, 128. 

Dawes, Hon. Thomas, Jr., appointed a 
U. S. Commissioner at Boston, 232. 

T)ay, Elijah, one of the insurgents, 154. 

Day, Luke, Shays's lieutenant, 121, 122, 
125, 126, 135, 154. 

Dearborn, Gen. Henry, notice of, 224 ?k 
Letters from, to James Bowdoin, 224, 
226, 228, 232,235, 236, 376. Letters to, 
from James Bowdoin, 230, 249, 444. 

Dearborn, Gen. Henry A. S., 236, 237. 

Dexter, Samuel, notice of, 27 n. Let- 
ters from, to John Temple, 27 ; James 
Bowdoin, 115. 

Dickason, Thomas, Jr., 264, 435, 442. 

Dixon, , 248. 

Domestic Debt of the United States, 
funding of, 173-183. 

Douglass, Capt. John E., 403. 

Doyen, , French banker, 310, 311. 

Draper, Capt. Moses, 123. 

Drury, Luke, Grafton, to be sent to Bos- 
ton as an insurgent, 139. 

Dryden, Capt. Artemas, Holden, in jail 
as an insurgent, 139. 

Dwight, Rev. Timothy, D.D., instructor 
of James Temple, 195. 

Eliot, Samuel, 126. 
Ellsworth, Hon. Oliver, 233, 
Emmet, Christopher Temple, 45. 
Emmet, Dr. Robert. Letters from, to 

John Tempi. >, 44, 49, 53. 
Emmet, Robert, 44 n. 
Emmet, Thomas Addis, 44 n., 45, 49, 54. 
Erving, George. Letters from, to 

James Bowdoin, 213, 222. Death of, 

Erving, George W. Letters from, to 

James Bowdoin, 241, 244, 251, 256, 446. 

Letters to. from James Bowdoin, 238, 

254, 261, 266, 279, 282, 287, 303, 307, 

311, 314, 320, 322, 323, 324, 325, 332, 
333, 336, 338, 339, 340, 342, 346, 31'.), 
350, 351, 352, 354, 356, 361, 364, 367, 
369, 374, 375, 379, 381, 393, 895,405, 
406, 410, 411, 420, 430, 433, 44 1 . Pro- 
posed as Secretary of Legation to 
Spain, 235. Gives Bowdoin advice 
about the journey from England to 
Paris, 241-248. From Paris to Spain, 
252, 253. Advised to seek permanent 
investments for his money, 306. Men- 
tioned, 329, 330, 331, 344, 425, 426. 

Erving, John, 196. 

Erving, Major William, notice of, 184 n. 

Eustis, Hon. William, doubts the expe- 
diency of repealing the Judiciary Act, 
225, 226. 

Eylau, battle of, 382. 


Fenton, Capt. John, 45. 

Fen ton, AJisses, dependent condition of, 
45, 54. 

Field, John, 114 n. 

Florida, East and West, proposed pur- 
chase of, 281, 282, 283, 284, 294, 295, 
297, 298, 300, 301, 388, 392, 399. 

Foronda, Valentin de, Spanish charge 
d'affaires in the United States, 404. 

Fowler, , 147. 

Fox, Rt. Hon. Charles James, scenes after 
his election for Westminster, 43, 44. 

France. Rivalry with Great Britain, 204. 
Supposed intention of, to take Louisi- 
ana, 233, 234. Policy of Great Britain 
tended to increase her power and in- 
fluence, 292. Danger of blending her 
with Spain in the controversy with the 
United Stales, 328. Relation of, to 
neutral rights, 363. Importance of cor- 
dial relations with, 372. 

Franklin, Benjamin, LL.D , 5, 8, 23, 
38,78,80,460,461. Letter from, to 
James Bowdoin, 189. Letters to, from 
James Bowdoin, 65, 183. 

French Revolution, origin and effects of, 
196, 204, 205, 206. 


Gale, Henry, Princeton, sent to Boston as 
an insurgent, 139. 

Gallatin, Albert. Letters to John 
Armstrong and James Bowdoin, 300; 
to the bankers in Amsterdam, 301. 

Genest, Edmond Charles, passenger in 
the French vessel Ambuscade, 202. 

Gerry, Hon. Elbridge, 228. Letters 
from, to James Bowdoin, 83, 196. 

Gilman, Hon. John T., re-elected Gov- 
ernor of New Hampshire, 227. 

Godoy, Manuel de, see Prince of Peace. 



Golding, Capt. Josiah, Ward, sent to 
Boston as an insurgent, 139. 

Gordon, Rev. William, jD.D. Letters 
from, to John Temple, 88, 89 ; James 
Bowdoin, 113. 

Gorham, Hon. Nathaniel, notice of, 
10o>8. Letter to, from James Bow- 
doin, 103. 

Gravesend, England, 242. 

Great Britain, policy of, toward the 
United States, 34, 36, 41,80, 231, 271. 
Apprehension in, of a war with France, 
188. Excellence of her manufactures, 
200. Enormous national debt of, 214. 
Trade of, 232. Conduct of, toward the 
American minister, 249. Perilous situ- 
ation of, 354. Monroe and Pinkney's 
treaty with, 358 et seq. Disapproved of 
by the President, 371. Angry feeling 
toward, aroused by acts of armed 
vessels on the American coast, 397, 

Greenleaf, "William, notice of, 138 n. 
Letter from, to James Bowdoin, 138. 

Grover, Thomas, Montague, a leader of 
the insurgents, 121, 122, 126. 


Ha gar, Capt. , 144. 

Had, Col. , 128. 

Hammond, George, notice of, 201 n. 
Letters from, to the British Admiral 
at Halifax, 201 ; to Sir John Temple, 

Hampshire County, estimated number of 
insurgents in, 116. 

Hancock, John. Letters from, to John 
Temple, 6 ; to the House of Represen- 
tatives of Massachusetts, 16. Letter 
to, from John Temple, 6. Samuel 
Dexter's opinion of, 28. Mentioned, 

Harvard College, Thomas Pownall pro- 
poses to establish a Professorship in, 5, 
22. Gift of his books to, 31, 38. As 
a place of education, 221. 

Harvard, Mass., attitude of, in Shays's 
insurrection, 140. 

Harvey, Moses, Montague, supposed to 
be extremely seditious, 148. 

Hawkesbury, Lord, see Jenkinson, 

Hawkins, , inventor of the poly- 
graph, 317. 

Hay, Hon. George, son-in-law of James 
Monroe, 455. 

Hayley, Mrs. , 72. 

Heath, Gen. William, as a candidate for 
Lieutenant-Governor, 227, 228. 

Henry, Patrick, Governor of Virginia. 
Letter to, from James Bowdoin, 76. 

Henshaw, Joseph, notice of, 135 n. Let- 
ter from, to James Bowdoin, 135. 

Herschel, Sir William, 79, 80. 
Higginson, Stephen, suffers heavy losses 

by the interference with neutral trade, 

Holland, Henry Richard Vassall, Baron, 

Howard, Rev. Simeon, D.D., 94. 

Howe, Capt. , 136. 

Hunt, Dr. Eben, Northampton, 148. 
Huntington, Hon. Samuel. Letter 

from, to James Bowdoin, 146. 
Hutchinson, Thomas, letters of, 459, 460. 


Imports, duties on, 100. 

Impressment of American seamen, Sir 

Robert Liston on, 217. By Great 

Britain, 318, 372, 437, 438. 
Indians, lands bought by New York 

from, 75. 
Interstate Commerce, restrictions by 

Connecticut on, 62, 63, 76. 
Izquierdo de Ribera y Lezaun, Eugene, 

Spanish agent in Paris. Notice of, 

269??. Mentioned, 269, 313,316, 320, 

321, 322, 323, 324, 326, 328, 329, 330, 

344, 349, 353, 365, 382. 

Jackson, Jonathan, 45, 48. 

Jay, Hon. John, return of, to America, 37. 

Jefferson, Thomas, 87. Letters from, 
to James Bowdoin, 2^0, 317, 371, 396, 
443. Letter to, from James Bowdoin, 
290. His administration to be syste- 
matically opposed, 230. Praises the 
polygraph, 317. Pacific policy of, 366. 
Disapproves of the treaty with Great 
Britain, 371. Weakness of his admin- 
istration, 380, 381. Regrets the mis- 
understanding between Bowdoin and 
Armstrong, 398. 

Jenkinson, Charles (afterward Baron 
Hawkesbury and Earl of Liverpool), 
96, 234. 

Johnson, William Samuel, LL.D., 208. 

Jones, , 144, 156. 

Judiciary Act, repeal of, 224, 225. 


Killam, , Westjield, one of Shays's 

lieutenants, 152. 
King, Hon. Rufus, 84, 235 n. 
King, Rufus, and Dane, Nathan. Letter 

to, from James Bowdoin, 167, 169, 170, 

Kirkland, Rev. Samuel. Letter from, 

to James Bowdoin, 75. 




Lafayette, Gilbert Motier, Marquis de, 
popularity of, in America, 3b*. 

Lancaster, Mass., attitude of, in Shays's 
insurrection, 139, 140. 

Lathrop, Rev. John - , D. D., 189. Notice 
of, 93 n. Letter from, to John Temple, 

Lauderdale, James Maitland, Earl of, 
322, 325, 327, 339. 

Laurens, Hon. Henry, to return to Amer- 
ica, 37. 

Laval-Montmorency, Mathieu Paul 
Louis, Vicomte de, popularity of, in 
America, 38. 

Layard, Rev. Charles P., D.D. Letters 
to, from James Bowdoin, 193, 194. 

Lee, William, consul at Bordeaux, 253, 
268, 279. 

Lewis, , linen-draper, 48, 80. 

Lincoln, Gen. Benjamin, 120, 129, 131, 
132, 133, 134, 147, 153, 161, 163, 167, 
169,170,171. Notice of, 136 n. Let- 
ters from, to James Bowdoin, 136, 145, 
156; George Clinton, 149. Letter to, 
from Eoyall Tyler, 143. Gene-al Or- 
ders issued by, 150. His reputation in 
the western part of the State, 127. 

Lincoln, Hon. Levi, 145, 334. 

Lincoln. , 149. 

Liston, Sir Robert, notice of, 216 n. 
Letter from, to Sir John Temple, 216. 

Livingston, Hon. Robert R., 92, 284. 

Llovd, James, M.D., agent for William 
Vassall, 69, 73, 107. 

Lopez, Thomas, Spanish geographer, 337, 

Louisiana, acquisition of, 308. Bounda- 
ries of, 313, 337, 341, 385, 387, 414-416, 
421. Cession of, by France to Spain. 
337. Report that it had been invaded 
by Spanish troops, 350, 356. Sup- 
posed grants of land in, bv Spain. 357, 
3o2, 368, 369. 

Lowell, Hon. John, LL. D. (H. IT. 1786), 

Loyalists, American, confiscation of es- 
tates owned by, 68 et seq, 81, 82 . 

Lyman, Capt. , North field, 147. 

Lyman, Samuel, notice of, 122 n. Letter 
from, to Samuel Breck, 122. 

Lyman, Gen. William, 126, 127, 153, 
307. Notice of, 435 n. Letter from, 
to James Madison, 435. 


McClure, Capt. , a large proprietor 

of land in East Florida, 405. 

Madison, Hon. James. Letters from, to 
James Bowdoin, 237, 302, 383, 403; 
George W. Erving, 289; John Arm- 
strong and James Bowdoin, 297, 398. 

Letters to, from James Bowdoin, 296 ; 
William Lyman, 435. Mentioned, 323, 
422, 423, 428, 429, 430, 431. 

Maryland, Governor of, letter to the, 
from James Bowdoin, 63. 

Massachusetts Legislature, action of, on 
the bond given by John Temple, 12- 
21. Draught of a Resolve by the 
Senate, 20. Draught by the House, ib. 
Resolve as jmssed, 12. Memorial of 
John Temple to the, 461. 

Masserano, Carlo Ferrero-Fieschi, Prince, 
Spanish minicterin Paris, 304,313,357. 

Mather, Samuel, Jr., aid to Gen. Shepard, 

Melville, Thomas, Surveyor of the port of 
Boston, 233. 

Miranda, Gen Francisco de, 290, 342, 373. 

Monroe, Hon. James. Letters from, to 
James Bowdoin, 363, 433, 450. Men- 
tioned, .238, 239, 240, 248, 255, 257, 258, 
259, 270, 272, 283, 288, 291, 295, 304, 
305, 307, 308, 314, 337, 341, 441,442. 
Defence of his political and diplomatic 
course, 451 et seq. 

Monkoe, James, and Pinkney, Wil- 
liam. Letters from, to James Bowdoin, 
358, 433. 

Morales, Don Juan Ventura, 289. 

Mountflorence, Major James C, 309 n., 
451 n. 

Muhlenberg, Gen. John P. G., 267. 

Mumford, , postrider, 90, 


Napoleon I., Emperor. Mentioned, 265, 

288, 325, 326, 328, 331, 333, 334, 336, 

339, 343, 348, 349, 355, 375. 377, 382, 

402, 406. Character of, 292, 293. 
Naushon, island of, James Bowdoin's 

estate on, 275. 
Nelson, John, 206. 
Newburyport, Address to Gov. Bowdoin 

from the inhabitants of, 56. Answer 

to the Address, 60. 

Newell, Col. , 145, 185. 

New Jersey and the domestic debt, 182. 
New York, buys land from the Indians, 

75. Dispute with Massachusetts as to 

the boundary line, 58, 59, 172, 187. 

Insurgents escape from Massachusetts 

into, 150, 167, 168, 171. 
Nimocks, Richard, Westfield, one of the 

insurgents, 152. 
Noble, , Westfield, one of Shays's 

lieutenants, 152! 
Northfield, unanimously supports the 

government, 127. 


O'Brien, Richard, U. S. consul at San- 
tander, 251. 



Orde, Thomas, Chief Secretary for Ire- 
land, 49, 50, 53. 

O'Reilly, Alexander, Spanish Governor 
of Louisiana, 869. 

Osgood, Samuel, notice of, 55 n. Let- 
ters from, to Jitmes Bowdoin, 55, 99. 

Ouvrard, Gabriel Julien, 288. 


Page, Benjamin, Groton, one of the in- 
surgents, 123. 

Paine, Bon. Elijah, 156. 

Paine, Hon. Roijert Treat, 15??., 29. 
Beport on the allegations of James 
Sullivan against John Temple, 13. 

Parker, Daniel, 262, 286, 324, 334, 338, 
339, 434. 

Parker, Oliver, Groton, one of the insur- 
gent s, 128. 

Parmenter, Jason, Bernardston, a princi- 
pal insurgent, 147, 148, 152, 153. 
Shoots Jacob Walker, 155. 

Parsons, Hon. Theophilus, 58. Notice 
of, 108 n. Letter from, to James Bow- 
doin, 108. Observations on the Powers 
of a Sheriff, by, ib 

Patten, Lieut-Col. Nathaniel, 123. 

Pennsylvania and the Wyoming Terri- 
tory, 177. 

Penrhvn, Richard Pennant, Baron, 33. 

Perkins, Major William, 128. 

Perry, , Easton, endeavors to stir up 

an insurgent feeding, 156. 

Phillips, Deacon William, 276. 

Pichon, Louis Andre, Baron, 304. 

Pinckney, Hon. Charles, 257, 260. 

Pinckney, Hon. Charles C. 231. 

Pinkney, Hon. William, 313. 

Pinkney, William, and Monroe. James. 
Letters from, to James Bowdoin, 358, 

Pitt, Rt. Hon. William, 34, 37, 41,42,291, 

Pope, Joseph, his ingenuity as an inven- 
tor, 194 

Torter, Eleazer, notice of, 121 n. Let- 
ter from, to James Bowrloin, 12.1. 

Pownall, Thomas. Letters from, to 

James Bowdoin, 3, 23, 30 : to , 32. 

Letters to, from James Bowdoin, 21, 
38. Wishes to visit America, 4 Pro- 
poses to found a Professorship in Har- 
vard College, 5. His Memorial to the 
Sovereigns of Europe, 25, 26 ?i. Solicits 
a military commission from Massachu- 
setts, 27, 31, 32, 89. 

Pownalborough, lands at, given to Har- 
vard College, 5, 22, 24, 30. Proceeds of 
the sale, 38 n. 

Price, Rev. Richard, D D., 94. Letters 
from, to James Bowdoin, 47, 78, 130, 187. 

Prince of Peace, a large landholder in 
America, 280. Mentioned, 281, 282, 

287, 288, 313, 324, 329, 330, 338,344, 
349, 370, 406, 407. 
Princeton, Mass., attitude of, in Shays's 
insurrection, 139. 


Randolph, John, 328, 378, 453, 454. 

Rice, , 149. 

Ridge way, , U. S. consnl at Antwerp, 

246, 255 

Rittenhouee, David, LL.D., 166. 

Rose, Rt. Hon. George, 40 n., 42, 49, 54. 

Roux, , financial agent for Talley- 
rand, 310. 


Sacket, Gad, WestfeJd, offers to surren- 
der to the authorities, 151. 

Santander, Spain, 239, 240, 268. 

Scott, Sir William (afterward Lord 
Stowell), 262, 266, 372. 

Sears, David, suffers heavy losses by the 
interference with neutral trade, 250, 

Shattuck, Job, Groton, one of the insur- 
gent leaders, 123. 

Shays, Daniel, 121, 122,124, 125, 133,135, 
136, 137, 140, 152. Number of support- 
ers of, in the county of Hampshire, 116. 
Goes to Vermont, 134. 

Sheffield, John B. Holroyd, Earl of, 34, 
35, 271. 

Shepard, Gen. William, 133, 161. Let- 
ters from, to James Bowdoin, 119. 126, 
141, 146, 151. Letter to, from James 
Bowdoin, 129. 

Shephard, Levi, notice of, 125 n Letter 
from, to James Bowdoin, 125. 

Sheriff, powers of, in suppressing an un- 
lawful assembly, 108-111. 

Skipwith, Fulwar, notice of, 309??., 
451 n. Letter to James Bowdoin, 80!). 
Mentioned, 311, 338, 342, 349, 350, 431, 

Smiih, Gen. Samuel, 267. 

Smith, Rev. Samuel S., D. D , delivers an 
oration on the unity of the human 
race, 166. 

Smith, , 146. 

Spain, unfriendly feeling toward the 
United States, 243. Negotiations with, 
283 et seq. Completely under French 
influence, 294. Grants of land by, in 
Louisiana, 367. Course of events in, 

Spanish spoliations on American com- 
merce, 3<>1 and jiassim. 

Spooner, Major .John J., 128. 

Springfield, Court at, closed by the in- 
surgents, 121, 122, 128. Arsenal at, tc 
be defended at all hazards, 130. 

Stearns, Col. Ephraim, 181, 132, 140. 



Stephen, James, author of " War in Dis- 
guise," 262 n. 

Sterling, Mass, attitude of, in Shays's 
insurrection, 139. 

Strong, Hon. Caleb, 227, 233. 

Sugar Colonies, American trade with 
the, 33, 34, 35. 

Sullivan, George, marries Sarah Bow- 
doin Winthrop, 13 n, 239 n. Private 
secretary to James Bowdoin, 239. 
Mentioned, 244, 246 and passim. De- 
sires a military commission, 278. 

Sullivan, James, 29, 396. Charges of, 
against John Temple, 14, 15, 459, 460. 
One of his sons marries Temple's 
granddaughter, 13 n. 

Sullivan, John. Letter from, to James 
Bowdoin, 134. 

Svdney, Thomas Townshend, Viscount, 

Talleyrand, Charles Maurice de, see 
Benevento, Prince of. 

Temple, Miss Augusta, 204, 209, 210. 

Temnle, Grenville, 45, 49, 50, 54, 200, 
206, 223. 

Temple, James Bowdoin, 195, 204, 207- 
209, 212, 223, 277. 

Temple, John, 83, 98, 189, 199, 204, 206. 
Letters from, to John Hancock, 6 ; 
Tristram Dalton, 10 ; Lord Walsing- 

ham, 33, 35; Sir Guy Carleton, 36 ; , 

40; the Senate ?ml House of Repre- 
sentatives of Massachusetts, 459. Let- 
ters to, from John Hancock, 6 ; Samuel 
Dexter, 27 ; Robert Emmet, 44, 49, 
53 ; John Wilmot, 83 ; William Gordon, 
83, 89 ; John Lathrop, 93; James Bow- 
doin, 195; George Hammond, 203; 
Robert Liston, 216. Sufferings of, 8. 
Resolve of the Legislature of Massa- 
chusetts discharging the bond given 
by him, 12. Appointed Consul Gen- 
eral of Great Britain in the United 
States, 43. His claim, as heir of John 
Nelson, against the British govern- 
ment, 206. Memorial of, to the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts, 461. 

Temple, Mrs. John (Elizabeth Bow- 
doin), 48, 54, 189, 195, 223, 277,446. 
Letter from, to James Bowdoin, 42. 
Letter to, from James Bowdoin, the 
younger, 204. 

Temple, Lord, see Buckingham, Mar- 
quis of. 

Ticknor, , Esquire, Bennington, 144. 

Titcomb, Major-General Jonathan, 128. 

Toy, Major , 144. 

Tracy, Nathaniel, 45, 58. 

Trumbull, Co/. John, 9. 

Trumbull, Jonathan, Governor of Con- 
necticut. Letter from, to the Earl of 
Dartmouth, 7. 

Tucker, Capt. Tudor, of the British sloop 
of war, " Hunter," troubles of, at New 
York, 216 et seq. 

Tylek, Koyall, 137, 145, 167, 109. No- 
tice of, 143 n. Letters from, to Benja- 
min Lincoln, 143; to James Bowdoin, 


United States, inability of the, to enforce 
the observance of a treaty, 131. Pacific 
policy of, commended, 216. Relations 
with Spain, 243 and passim. 


Valentine, Samuel, Hoplcinton, one of 
the insurgents apprehended by Gen. 
Brooks, 133. 

Vandeput, Admiral George, 219. 

Van Staphorst, N. & I. & \i. Letter to, 
from Albert Gallatin, 301. 

Varnum, Capt. James, 144. 

Varnum, Hon. James B., 145, 146, 279. 

Vassall, William, notice of, 66 n. Let- 
ters from, to James Bowdoin, with re- 
gard to his confiscated estates, 66, 105. 

Vaughan, Samuel. Letter from, to 
James Bowdoin, 164. 

Vermont, insurgents from Massachu- 
setts escape into, 134, 136, 142, 143, 148, 
152, 153, 154, 155, 185, 186. 


Waldo, Samuel, 196. 

Walker, Jacob, Whately, killed, 147, 155. 

Walsingham, Thomas de Grey, Baron. 
Letters to, from John Temple, 33, 35". 

Ward, Gen. Artemas, notice of, 118 n. 
Letter from, to James Bowdoin, 118. 

Warden, David B., U. S. consul at Pans, 
329, 345. 

Warner, . Gen. Jonathan, 139. Notice 
of, 131 n. Letters from, to James Bow- 
doin, 131, 148, 

Warren, Mrs. Mercy. Letter from, to 
James Bowdoin, with reference to her 
unpublished Poems, 197. Letter to, 
from James Bowdoin, 198. 

Washburn, Seth. Reports by, on the 
case of John Temple, 17, 18. 

Washington, George, President. Let- 
ter from, to James Bowdoin, 192. Let- 
ter to, from James Bowdoin, 184. On 
appointments to office, 192, 193. 

Waterhouse. Benjamin, M.D., 114. 

Webster, Noah. Letter to James Bow- 
doin, on funding the domestic debt, 173. 

Wendell, Hon. Oliver, 69, 73, 107. 

West, Benjamin, 9. 

Whale fishery, considerations on the, 



Wheeler, Adam, capture and rescue of, 
148, 150, 158. 

Whiting, Copt. , 136. 

Whitney, Aaron, Northfield, 147, 155. 

Wiggles worth, Rev. Edward, D.D., 189. 

Wiley, Major , 143. 

Willard, Joseph, LL.D., Pres. of Harvard 
College, 80. 

Willard, Dr, Samuel, Uxbridge, a fugitive 
insurgent, 138, 189. 

Williams, Capt. Joseph, 128. 

Williams, Samuel, 2(34. 

Willink, W. & Jan. Letter to, from 
Albert Gallatin, 301. 

Wilmot, John, notice of, 81 ri. Letter 
from, to John Temple, 81. 

Winthrop, John, LL.D., Professor, 190. 

Winthrop, Robert C, Jr., xiii, xiv, 
40 n. 

Winthrop, Miss Sarah Bowdoin, marries 
George Sullivan, 13 n, 239 n. Men- 
tioned, 239, 240, 244 and passim. 

Winthrop, Hon. Thomas L., 238, 250, 305. 
Letter to, from James Bowdoin, 271. 

Wood, Col. Henry, 144. 

Wood, Justice Peter, 134. 

Worcester, Gen. Ward's estimate of the 
number of insurgents who would as- 
semble at, 118. Number of troops re- 
quired to support the Court at, 120. 
The Court at, to be supported, 127. 

Wright, Justus, one of the insurgents, 

Yarmouth, Earl of, Francis Seymour, 
319 322 

Young, Moses, 257, 281, 296, 307, 314, 
338, 342, 361, 394. 

Yrujo, Carlos Martinez de, minister from 
Spain to the United States, 288, 289, 
352, 368, 370. Intrigues with Aaron 
Burr, 373, 384. Recall of, 897. 

University Press, Cambridge, U. S. A. 

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